USWNT’s Lindsey Horan apologizes for ‘poorly expressed’ comments

U.S. women’s national team captain Lindsey Horan opened her time in front of reporters by addressing the reaction to her comments on American fans’ knowledge of soccer, made in an interview with The Athletic published earlier this month.

“First and foremost, I would like to apologize to our fans,” Horan said while speaking during a virtual availability ahead of the CONCACAF W Gold Cup. “Some of my comments were poorly expressed, and there was a massive lesson learned for me.”

In her interview with The Athletic, Horan shared frustrations with how viewers of matches took commentary at face value before joking that her mother did it while watching USWNT matches. On Thursday, she took time to clarify and express her appreciation for the fans.

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“When I think about our fans, I love them so much. The team loves them so much, and I can’t begin to explain how much they mean to us. Every time we step out and train, every time we step out and play in games, you know we play for you guys,” Horan said. “You’re our inspiration, our motivation, and seeing you wear our jerseys and seeing you screaming our names, and chanting USA, that’s what we play for and I never wanted to take any of that away.

“Continuing on that, the soccer culture in America is changing and growing so much in such a positive way. For me to experience that firsthand, playing for this U.S. women’s national team but also in the NWSL and for the Portland Thorns, is something just so amazing. It is my absolute honor, and I will always say that, to be able to put on this crest every single day. To be in this environment, to go out and play in front of our fans and represent this national team, that is something — again, it is my greatest honor. … The last thing I ever wanted to do was to offend anyone in that manner. So again, I deeply, deeply apologize.”

When asked to elucidate what she wanted to express with her original comments, Horan replied that she did not think that “what I meant really matters right now.” She said that she’s just “a football brain” who loves watching as much soccer as possible.

“I love talking about it, and the way people talk about Man City, Arsenal, the old Barcelona,” she said. “That’s what I want people to say about us. I want people to talk about how incredible we are on the ball, the possession, the style of play, the technical ability, the tactical changes mid-game, these types of things.”

Horan said she apologized because of how she felt and that she wanted “to express how much the fans mean to me personally.”

On the matter of the tournament ahead of them — the inaugural W Gold Cup — Horan joked that the goal is “the trophy.”

More seriously, she said that the team’s main goal is to win, but it’s also a perfect preparation for the Olympics due to the tournament format and timing. “What we do here can really train us and mentally prepare us for what we might have to deal with in France,” she said. “We take each game at a time and we get better throughout the tournament, and we keep increasing now what we’re trying to do and how we’re trying to play.”

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Horan stressed multiple times that she believes every player on the roster needs to be utilized throughout the Gold Cup to help get some players tournament minutes and more time on the field — and that the USWNT must take advantage of this time on the field together ahead of the Olympics.

“It’s not just the new young ones, it’s all of us,” she said. “We’re all progressing together and we remain a team. Everyone needs to get on the same page leading into the Olympics, but first off, the first game here at the Gold Cup.”

(Photo: Brennan Asplen, Getty Images)