US women’s captain Lindsey Horan apologizes after saying American soccer fans ‘aren’t smart’

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) — U.S. women’s national team captain Lindsey Horan apologized Thursday for recent comments in which she said American soccer fans “aren’t smart” and they “don’t know the game.”

Speaking on a conference call with reporters ahead of the first CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup, Horan said her remarks were “poorly expressed.”

The United States opens the Gold Cup tournament on Tuesday in Carson, California, against an as-yet undetermined opponent.

Horan was quoted in the The Athletic in a recent interview as saying: “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.”

Her comments stemmed from frustration about how some viewers take TV commentary at face value.

Horan, who plays professionally in France, said she had reflected on the remarks and the reaction to them.

“Some of my comments were poorly expressed, and there was a massive lesson learned for me,” she said.

In addition to apologizing, Horan emphasized the appreciation both she and the rest of the team have for the fans.

“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,” she said. “And I never wanted to take any of that away. And continuing on that, the soccer culture in America is changing and growing so much in such a positive way.”

The United States was criticized after being eliminated in the round of 16 at the Women’s World Cup last summer. It was the team’s earliest exit in soccer’s premier tournament.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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