U.S. Women's Soccer Team Criticized for Celebrating Huge Sweep of Thailand in World Cup

The U.S. women’s national soccer team beat Thailand with a record-breaking score of 13-0 during their first game of the 2019 World Cup on Tuesday, but not everyone was impressed with how the team celebrated each goal.

Goal celebrations are a traditional and beloved part of soccer, but as the U.S. women’s team took in their eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth goal, some social media critics said they should have toned down the excitement in front of Thailand’s players.

“[Zero] problem with the score line as this is THE tournament,” retired soccer player Taylor Twellman said. “BUT celebrating goals (like #9) leaves a sour taste in my mouth like many of you. Curious to see if anyone apologizes for this postgame.”

“The only criticism I have about the #USWNT and the 13-0 score, is some of the later goals were celebrated too,” one Twitter user wrote. “After it’s 6-0 you stop doing choreographed dances and such.”

“My son’s league has a 7-pt rule where they can’t score any more so as to not embarrass the opponent,” another user chimed in. “Adults use this to teach a lesson about sportsmanship, yet people support these double digit celebrations?”

Meanwhile, SB Nation journalist Kim McCauley argued that larger soccer organizations like FIFA were to blame for 13-0 sweep, because they allow for disparate matches like Tuesday’s to occur by not prioritizing women’s soccer teams.

“That USWNT result did feel gross, but not because the USWNT did anything wrong,” she wrote. “It’s because FIFA and FAs don’t do anything for women’s soccer and allow disparities like that to exist.”


Others defended the team, saying that any player on the World Cup stage should give it their all and celebrate their accomplishments.

“For all that have issue with many goals: for some players this is there [sic] first World Cup goal, and they should be excited,” retired U.S. soccer player Abby Wambach wrote on Twitter about her former teammates. “Imagine it being you out there. This is your dream of playing and then scoring in a World Cup. Celebrate. Would you tell a men’s team to not score or celebrate?”

Wambach continued in a follow-up tweet: “Really respecting the game and what you’ve worked for is to do your best at ALL times. This is a call to @FIFAcom to do more and give more resources for some of these countries. It’s the World Cup folks. Would you say this about the men? Didn’t think so.”

“I think part of respecting your opponent is to treat them as an equal,” another user tweeted in defense of the team. “Treating them as if they are not worthy of your full effort for 30 minutes seems just as humiliating.”

During Tuesday’s match, the U.S. team not only shattered the record for goals and margin of victory in a World Cup match, but star player Alex Morgan tied another World Cup record by scoring five goals during the game.

Following their defeat of Thailand, the U.S. team will continue in the group stages of the tournament, which run through Thursday, June 20.

They’ll next face Chile on Sunday, June 16 and Sweden on June 20, before the knockout stages begin on Saturday, June 22. If the Americans beat Chile, they’ll secure a place in the round of 16.

The women’s national team won the last World Cup in 2015, and they’re looking to defend their title at this year’s tournament, which will crown its winner on July 7.

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