US Soccer orders players to 'stand respectfully' during national anthem

Kneeling for the National Anthem on the pitch will be disallowed by U.S. Soccer, which implemented a new policy that says players "shall stand respectfully during playing of national anthem".

Look back at Megan Rapinoe's reasoning for kneeling during the national anthem before their Thailand friendly last September. "Quite honestly, being gay, I have stood with my hand over my heart during the national anthem and felt like I haven't had my liberties protected", she told ESPNW. It dictates that players "shall stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented". It was passed by the board of directors in February. "As part of the privilege to represent your country, we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played", it said in a statement. She also protested with her club team, the Seattle Reign, several times in the fall.

Rapinoe made a decision to kneel in a protest of social inequality.

US head coach Jill Ellis said in February that the decision to not bring Rapinoe to the SheBelieves Cup was based purely on roster reasons.

Per Holden, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said there will be no set punishment for not standing during the anthems, and that each violation will be addressed as it happens.

  • Julie Sanders