Alexi Lalas Apr 14, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Alexi Lalas gestures during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Draw at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Exploring Alexi Lalas’ stance on the United States Women’s National Team doesn’t require analyzing their 2023 World Cup performance. Lalas’ criticism of the USWNT, beyond his “unlikable to a portion of America” remark, deserves analysis. While less aggressive than Carli Lloyd, his post-World Cup words were pointed.

And so were his comments directed towards Lindsay Horan, the USWNT team captain, who sparked discussion by suggesting some fans lack sufficient understanding of the game.

“American soccer fans, most of them aren’t smart,” she says. “They don’t know the game. They don’t understand. (But) it’s getting better and better.”

In her conversation with The Athletic, Meg Linehan writes that the 29-year-old Horan briefly pauses to understand that she knows that her words will stir controversy.

“I’m gonna piss off some people,” she continues, “but the game is growing in the U.S. People are more and more knowledgeable, but so much of the time, people take what the commentators say, right? My mom does it! My mom says, ‘Julie Foudy said you had such a good game!’ And I’m here, just going, ‘I was ******* **** today.'”

Those comments didn’t sit well with Lalas, who took issue with Horan’s characterization of American soccer fans, suggesting her remarks would alienate non-fans and dedicated supporters.

“So, not satisfied with already turning off many Americans who don’t watch soccer, evidently, the #USWNT has now set their sights on turning off many Americans who do watch soccer. Bold strategy,” wrote Lalas.

Lalas later responded to a fan inquiry on social media regarding the likability of USWNT players.

While he appreciates Horan as a player and a person, he disagrees with her criticism of American soccer fans, finding it unnecessary and harmful to the USWNT’s image. While understanding Horan might honestly believe her statement, Lalas disapproved of its timing and potential consequences.

He would later further expound on his argument, defending American soccer fans in the process.

“I actually think American soccer fans are arguably some of the most educated, interesting, and well-rounded in the game,” he continued. “In a country where soccer isn’t king, American soccer fans have often had to seek and discover the game, domestically and internationally. This proactive approach, out of necessity, has given American soccer fans a unique appreciation and view of the game. It’s not provincial, it’s worldly. American soccer fans are forced to see the game relative to the world, not simply the country. This means American soccer fans are often more educated about that world than others.

“Also, because of America’s unique culture, American soccer fans are exposed to a much wider spectrum of soccer styles, leagues, players, ideas, etc., than other countries. This has produced a soccer palette for American soccer fans that is much more diverse than many soccer-centric countries and cultures. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.”

Lalas’ spirited defense of American soccer fans offers a counterpoint to Horan’s comment, and while his’ prior stance on the USWNT adds context, his core argument about American soccer fans deserves consideration on its own merits.

[The Athletic, Alexi Lalas on X]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.