Lindsey Horan Jul 2, 2019; Lyon, FRANCE; United States midfielder Lindsey Horan (9) celebrates after defeating England during semi-final play in the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 soccer tournament at Stade de Lyon. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

USWNT captain Lindsey Horan has apologized for her recent comments claiming U.S. soccer fans “aren’t smart” and “don’t know the game.”

Horan offered her apology during a conference call with reporters to talk about the team’s appearance in the upcoming CONCACAF W Gold Cup.

In an interview published Feb. 1 by The Athletic, Horan bemoaned the relative lack of knowledge American fans have of the game, versus international fans.

“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 didn’t dispute she said that, but instead owned her comments during the conference call.

“First and foremost, I would like to apologize to our fans,” Horan said (via ESPN). “Some of my comments were poorly expressed and there was a massive lesson learned for me.

“When I think about our fans, I love them so much. This team loves them so much and I can’t begin to explain how much they mean to us. Every time we step out and train, every time we step out and play in games, we play for you guys and you are our inspiration, you are our motivation and seeing you wearing our jerseys and seeing you screaming our names and chanting ‘USA,’ that’s what we play for.”

Horan’s comments in the article generated harsh criticism at the time.

Fox Sports analyst Alexi Lalas, a former men’s soccer star and frequent critic of the USWNT, tweeted,  “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.”

Horan, who was named as team co-captain (with Alex Morgan) last year, said she felt compelled to apologize, “to express how much the fans just mean to me personally.”

“The last thing I ever wanted to do was to offend anyone in that manner. So again, I deeply, deeply apologize,” she said.

The USWNT had a disastrous run in the 2023 World Cup, getting eliminated in the Round of 16.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.