‘Most American soccer fans aren’t smart’

Lindsey Horan is the USMNT co-captain alongside Alex Morgan.Photograph: Julio Cortez/AP

USWNT co-captain Lindsey Horan has criticized US soccer fans in an interview with the Athletic, questioning their knowledge of the game.

“American soccer fans, most of them aren’t smart,” Horan said. “They don’t know the game. They don’t understand. [But] it’s getting better and better.

Horan has been the national team captain since 2023. She splits captaincy duty with Alex Morgan but wears the armband when the two are on the pitch together.

“I’m going to piss off some people, but the game is growing in the US. People are more and more knowledgable, but so much of the time people take what the commentators say, right? My mom does it! My mom says, ‘[Commentator and former USWNT player] Julie Foudy said you had such a good game!’ And I’m here just going, ‘I was fucking shit today.’”

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After a poor showing at the 2023 World Cup, the USWNT came under fire. National team coach Vlatko Andonovski resigned after the team were eliminated by Sweden on penalties in the round of 16. Chelsea coach Emma Hayes will become the new full-time boss at the end of the Women’s Super League season in England.

Horan was frustrated by the coverage surrounding the US during the World Cup. “I always want to defend my team and say you have no idea what is going on behind the scenes. You have no idea every single training what we are doing individually, collectively etc, so for anyone to question our mentality hurts a little bit,” Horan said after the US barely scraped through the group stage, referencing Carli Lloyd’s comments on Fox Sports that the team were “arrogant”.

“If you’re not backing it up on the field, people are going to come and talk shit about what you’re doing, where your priorities are,” Horan said. “Like, ‘Are you getting ready for the game? Are you caring more about this shit? You have to be amongst this team for a while to know what the fuck that takes. It’s one of the most competitive national teams to be a part of.”

Horan plays her club football for Lyon in France, where she says fans have a more elevated understanding of the game. “From what I’ve heard, people understand my game a little bit more, a sense of my football and the way I play,” Horan said. “It is the French culture. Everyone watches football. People know football.”

Horan was bullish on the team’s prospects in the Paris Olympics later this year. The USWNT have been criticized for falling behind the world’s top teams technically, focusing instead on a physical brand of play.

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With Julie Ertz and Megan Rapinoe retiring, the US has embraced a younger squad, hoping to blend physicality with more precise attacking play. “Even in these past few games, you see little glimpses of that [how good the team can be],” Horan said. “But it’s the final product, continuing to do that throughout the game, getting everyone on the same page, not just four or five players.

“If you can develop that more, and it’s inherent in every single player on the team, you’re looking to play the combinations, all of these things? No idea what this team can do.

“Then you have the mentality aspect on top of it, where if the football is not going well, we know that we can freaking go. We have players on the field that are faster, stronger, capable in behind, and we’re going to gut it out, right? The world is going to be very fearful.”

Hayes will take over two months before the Olympics, leaving her little time to work with a group of players aiming to win gold in Paris.

“We need to change every bit of culture that we had prior to the last World Cup and going into this Olympics because we need to win,” Horan said. “And that starts now.”


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