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USA Victory Tour farce: Women Warriors v USA cancelled due to unfit surface

Today’s opening fixture of the “USA Victory Tour”, which pitted the host national and World Cup champions against the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team, has been cancelled after the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) deemed the artificial playing surface at the Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii was deemed unfit for international football.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kimika Forbes (right) holds on to the ball while United States attack Abby Wambach looks on during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship. (Copyright AFP 2014)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kimika Forbes (right) holds on to the ball while United States attack Abby Wambach looks on during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship.
(Copyright AFP 2014)

Today’s match, which was the first of two exhibition games, was due to be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports GO.

Instead, the “Women Soca Warriors” and the United States women will meet next Thursday in Texas.

Trinidad and Tobago coach Randy Waldrum said the Women Warriors were disappointed at the cancellation for the exhibition, which was expected to be witnessed by a sold out audience in the 50,000 seater stadium.

However, he said he understood the reason and were looking forward to their match on Thursday.

“I think we always have a responsibility to look out for players safety first, so I understand the reason for the cancellation,” Waldrum told the TTFA Media. “The field had two main areas of concern. There were some seams in the turf on each end of the field right inside the six yard box.

“The turf was coming up around these seams, so with the traffic that would be in these areas it would be a problem. We trained on the field yesterday for about an hour and a half.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Randy Waldrum (right) speaks to his players during a practice session in the United States last year. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Randy Waldrum (right) speaks to his players during a practice session in the United States last year.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

“We are disappointed not to get to play here, just as I’m sure the US Women’s national team are too. I think however our players understand it and of course support watching out for the safety of the teams first and foremost.”

It is the second Trinidad and Tobago women’s international outing to be cancelled within the last 24 hours, as the National Under-20 Team’s CONCACAF 2015 Women’s Under-20 Championship match against hosts, Honduras, in San Pedro Sula was also cancelled after bad weather made the field unplayable.

CONCACAF has promised to announce a new date for the Jamaica vs Canada and Trinidad and Tobago vs Honduras double header shortly.

The Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 women lost 2-0 to Canada on Thursday night in their first CONCACAF fixture, which also serves as the qualifying series for the 2016 FIFA Women’s Under-20 World Cup.

Photo: Canada Under-20 attacker Taylor Pryce tries to get a shot off under pressure from Trinidad and Tobago players (from right) Chevonne John, Naoemi Guerra, Amaya Ellis and Shaunalee Govia during 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship action. (Copyright MexSport/CONCACAF)
Photo: Canada Under-20 attacker Taylor Pryce tries to get a shot off under pressure from Trinidad and Tobago players (from right) Chevonne John, Naoemi Guerra, Amaya Ellis and Shaunalee Govia during 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship action.
(Copyright MexSport/CONCACAF)

The following is the full press release from the USSF on the Hawaii cancellation:

US Soccer has cancelled the U.S. Women’s National Team Victory Tour match scheduled for Sunday, December 6, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, after a determination that the artificial turf surface is not suitable to hold an international soccer match.

Upon testing the playing surface during the WNT’s training session earlier on December 5, and after all possible options available were considered to get the field in a playable condition, the decision was made by US Soccer to cancel the match.

“We extend our sincere apologies to those fans who were scheduled to attend the US Women’s National Team match in Hawaii,” said US Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe. “Player safety is our number one priority at all times and after a thorough inspection throughout the day, we determined it was in the best interest for both teams to not play the match.

“We regret not being able to play in front of our fantastic, loyal fans.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women's National Senior Team star Kennya Cordner touches down in Toronto for the July 2015 Pan American Games. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTOC)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team star Kennya Cordner touches down in Toronto for the July 2015 Pan American Games.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTOC)

All ticket buyers will be fully refunded. All internet and phone orders will be automatically refunded with a confirmation sent via email.

Fans that purchased at Ticketmaster ticket centers will need to return their tickets to the location where purchased in order to obtain a refund. Those who purchased at Aloha Stadium will need to return to the venue ticket office (open Monday-Friday 9 am to 5 pm).

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55 comments

  1. Two soccer fans in Hawaii have filed class action suit over the last minute cancellation of Sunday’s Trinidad and Tobago vs USA Women’s soccer game at the Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
    Their attorneys say the fans lost even more money because “they’re out of thousands of dollars in air fare and accommodation,” according to a report on Hawaii News Now.

  2. Bakes

    People are reacting emotionally and without reason. if there were to be any party liable for the cancellation it would be Aloha Stadium, not the USSF. The Stadium management failed to properly prepare the facility to host the game, and to those unfamiliar with Hawaii, there are no other comparable facilities available. Hawaii is a ver mountainous state, so it’s scarce to find large, flat surfaces period, and even when you find them, they’re not suitable for hosting that size crowd, or up to international standard. The issue with the Stadium is that the (American) football field is narrower than international standards for hosting a ‘soccer’ match. To address this, they tried to widen the field by laying down turf, but the manner in which it was done resulted in the turf coming up in areas, exposing seams in the playing field. This is an extremely dangerous situation, former Chicago Bears WR Wendell Davis caught his feet in the turf at Philly’s old Veterans’ Stadium, resulting in both ACLs tearing at the same time, ending his career. Canceling the match was the proper thing to do.

    • Lasana Liburd

      You think the USSF has no responsibility for a USSF event involving USSF players? I’m not surprised. Spoken like a true former TTFA general secretary. And I stress on the word “former.”

      • Bakes

        Back with the tired b.s. that I’m Sheldon Phillips? If you had even the semblance of a clue regarding how these events are organized you’d understand why the USSF isn’t culpable here. But why am I even bothering trying to explain anything to you? You’re the same person who was swearing up and down that FIFA extended the FIFA voting deadline as part of some conspiracy to keep Tim Kee in power. Going so far as to say that such an extension was “unprecedented” despite at least two other such occurrences right before the TTFA’s. Once you have your blinkers on it’s hard to convince of anything resembling facts or reason.

        • Lasana Liburd

          “I think the team needs to be a little more vocal … about whether this is good for our bodies and whether we should be playing on it if the men wouldn’t be playing on it,” United States striker Alex Morgan further explained Sunday. “We’ve been told by U.S. Soccer that the field’s condition and the size of the field are the first two talking points of when they decide on a field, so I’m not sure why eight or nine of our 10 Victory Tour games are on turf whereas the men haven’t played on turf this year.”

          Go lecture the US Women’s National Team about why they should be blaming the Aloha Stadium facility managers and not the USSF.
          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/uswnt-boycott-turf-hawaii_56659a04e4b079b2818f203d

          Like I said, I’m glad the TTFA can now move forward with responsible administrators.

        • Lasana Liburd

          “We had a series of mistakes involving this game … We screwed up. It won’t happen again,” USSF president Sunil Gulati told the Times.

      • Lasana Liburd

        I explained everything I had to about that in the published story. And I gave examples. And it doesn’t alter the fact that you believe the USSF has no responsibility from a USSF event played in the US, using USSF players.
        I think that is stupid and in keeping with your performance as TTFA general secretary. I really have nothing more to add to that.
        You always specialised in excuses.

  3. Bakes

    Explain what is “disrespectful” about Sunil Gulati skipping the Senate hearing?

    • Lasana Liburd

      If I had to explain why it is disrespectful for the USSF president to turn down an invitation from the US Senate to share his knowledge on FIFA… Then it would be an exercise in futility.

      • Bakes

        See this is why I like to ask questions rather than assume. I’ll take your response to mean that you don’t have a valid rationale for making the statement, because there is none.

        First off this wasn’t “an invitation from the US Senate to share his knowledge on FIFA” it was a hearing that was to be the basis of an investigation and he was called to TESTIFY, not just share his thoughts. Anything he said would have been under oath and gone on the record and he would not have been able to have the advice of a lawyer. As a rule, if there is even a remote possibility of self-incrimination then you decline these “invitations”… if they really needed him there they could have subpoenaed him, they do it all the time.

        As a defense attorney I would never advise my client to take the stand unless compelled to… there is hardly ever anything to gain, and everything to lose. His attorney properly advised him not to testify. You are the only person I see spinning this as some kind of “disrespect” for the institution, and anybody else who views it this way only reveal their ignorance of the gravity of the situation and the propriety of his actions.

        Finally, when have you ever known the American government to give a damn about “soccer”? This hearing was a farce along the lines of the Benghazi hearings. An opportunity for Republicans to hog their share of the spotlight away from a Democrat-led Dept. of Justice. It was a glorified horse and pony show meant for Jerry Moran to insinuate himself into the mix and put the feet of the USSF to the fire. It’s silly to paint Gulati’s refusal to participate as “disrespect.”

        • Lasana Liburd

          It means I think this argument unbecoming even for you. The US Senate is such a big bad place that Gulati sent the USSF general secretary in his place eh? So why send the general secretary?
          You’re really not worth debating on this point Bakes. Your vanity is exceeded only by your daftness.
          Your words: “As a defense attorney I would never advise my client to take the stand unless compelled to… there is hardly ever anything to gain, and everything to lose”
          We can end right there. Anyone with sense can read between those lines.

          • Bakes

            It’s funny that you call me “daft” while wallowing in your very obvious ignorance. The GS of the USSF is more intimately familiar with the day-to-day operations of the USSF. More importantly, there was never a chance that he could say anything which even remotely would incriminate him. Again, it has to do with the risk/reward analysis. Any attorney worth their salt would understand that, but that’s above your pay grade. Cast my comments as “vanity” or “daftness” all you want, your childish ad hominems only further reveal the vacuity of your position.

            By the way, you should do some research into the number of people, some of them very prominent so it won’t be hard to find, who have refused to testify before Congress this year. It’s okay to admit when you’re wrong on an issue, digging in your heels only makes you look even sillier.

          • Lasana Liburd

            So the US Senate invited him and he decided that he should send someone else. Although Sunil Gulati and not his general secretary is a FIFA vice president.
            And the discussion was about FIFA.
            Like I said, we shall leave it here. I couldn’t be bothered to go any further down this road.

  4. I am sure we will be compensated

  5. As Chabeth Haynes said, the US owes us one. Because I’m sure it wasn’t cheap for us to fly 19 players plus staff members to Hawaii.

  6. Lasana the injury to Megan Rapinoe occurred on a natural grass field eh. Just saying.

  7. Turf is very hard on the knee, ankle and back. Our turf has been so bad at times that it had to be closed down because it was so unsafe.

  8. Yep. So let Sunil Gulati explain his choice here! Idiot. Albeit a very smart idiot who has somehow managed to stay clear of the FBI. Lol. He is an economics professor after all.

  9. I know the US women were very vocal about playing on artificial turf leading up to the Women’s World Cup, and even filed a lawsuit against FIFA for it’s use of artificial turf.

  10. And imagine it was a men’s game against Argentina with Lionel Messi in the side. Something is very wrong there in 2015.
    Hawaii is third world apparently…

  11. Very ridiculous. This match was announced since October 15th. Is only yesterday they came to the realization that the surface was unfit for playing and there was no suitable alternative? So it just magically deteriorate overnight? Imagine de outcry if de roles were reversed.

  12. One of the US players tore an ACL on a shitty practice field in preparing for this game. THis was more of a players decision. they have been complaining of playing of turf fields for a a long time. If there was a game to cancel this turf game was the one… If you have never played on bad turf before you will not understand the possibilities for major injuries just by running! This move possibly saved our ladies from serious injury and since we have a history of not taking care of our own, especially with this team, potential problems averted. 1 less game to worry about..

    • Lasana Liburd

      Hmmm… That would have been dangerous for Kennya Cordner who is just coming back from a knee injury. And the US led protests about playing on turf at the last World Cup.
      Egg on the face of the USSF for putting the match there then.

  13. That depends on what the match contract says Gordon Pierre. And the vision and negotiating strength of the people who arranged the deal.
    I’m guessing that would be ex-general secretary Sheldon Phillips.

  14. Lasana Liburd i wonder about the tv revenue for both games
    bc both were US primetime spots?

  15. ..Ah. In that case we are owed. And I am certain USSF will make it up to us. CONCACAF election comong. LOL..

  16. Yes Keith Look Loy, I asked the TTFA and they said the airfare was handled from our end. That’s what I was told anyway.

  17. ..Is anyone sure it was TTFA that paid our fare and not USSF?..

  18. Well, T&T paid for airfare to the US. Our second game is in Texas so we will have a game but it surely costs more to fly to Hawaii and Texas and we didn’t get a game. So…
    Of course I am speculating. I am not sure we will be compensated at all Prince Borde. Nobody gives away money. You have to make a case for it.
    But I would say it might be better to call in a favour in the future.

  19. Dont want to cross thread but, why do they “owe” us one?… just for clarification

  20. Yeah. But if we were going to have just one game against the US, it would have been better to have this one so our team could get to Brazil on time… But oh well.

  21. I guess is a lil ease up on the women, with an already hectic December schedule

  22. Is the US refunding the airfare costs to Hawaii?

    • Good question. But then the game in Texas is still on. So they might argue that we had to pay to travel to US anyway.
      More likely, we might have to hold the USSF to a favour in the future.

    • Steups. Look… lol. Developing countries need to accept cash not favours. We all know it’s not the same cost to fly from Piarco to Houston as it is to fly from Piarco to Honolulu.

    • So don’t ask them to build us a jail for deportees? Lol. I know what you’re saying. But if we bark and they call our bluff, the TTFA is in no position to take them on legally for a refund.
      So what can we do but swallow our pride and ask them for a favour?

    • Lol. No, don’t ask for a jail.
      But how are we not in a position legally? There was no contract?
      If the American spectators are getting their money back, why can’t the Trinidad and Tobago FA?
      What sort of favour could they do for us? Pay to come for a match here and TTFA keep all the money from ticket sales? Ok, that would work for me.

    • I meant that if the USSF said “no” and we had to take them to court, we would be stuck. We can’t afford it. But they know better than to mess with US citizens over stuff like that.
      If we can get them here for a match, that would be brilliant actually. I was definitely thinking along the lines of a friendly match for one of our national teams (male or female).

    • Ok. Tell the president about my brilliant idea! But let’s make it the women’s team. We just saw the men…

    • Didn’t the Organizers review the pitch when they were setting game? From then to now such deterioration? I think I had read somewhere that all expenses were the USSF….

    • The TTFA told me that our team paid for its airfare. But all internal travel and everything else was picked up by the USSF.
      I do find it extraordinary that a game would be called off in 2015 for anything short of a natural disaster. Egg on the face for the USSF and the Aloha Stadium facility manager there.
      Pretty disrespectful to the US women’s team as well.