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Horan criticizes US soccer fans, claiming Most lack soccer smarts.

Photo: James Gilbert/AP

In a candid interview with The Athletic, Lindsey Horan, co-captain of the United States Women's National Soccer Team (USWNT), openly discussed her concerns regarding the level of soccer knowledge among American fans. She expressed dissatisfaction, stating that a significant portion lacks understanding of the game. Despite her critical stance, she acknowledged a positive trend of improvement over time.

Wearing the captain's armband since 2023, Horan shared leadership duties with Alex Morgan. She delved into the issue of fans relying heavily on commentators' opinions, illustrating this with a personal anecdote involving her own mother.

The conversation shifted to the aftermath of the 2023 World Cup, where the USWNT faced criticism for their early exit in the round of 16 against Sweden. The negative media attention surrounding the team's performance deeply affected Horan, prompting her to defend the squad's efforts and emphasize the challenges faced behind the scenes.

Horan touched upon the pressure and expectations placed on the team by fans and the public. She explained how external perceptions can be misleading, highlighting the intense competitiveness within the national team.

Having faced critiques about their technical skills and accusations of relying too much on physical attributes, the USWNT is undergoing a transitional phase with the retirements of key players like Julie Ertz and Megan Rapinoe. Horan expressed optimism about the team's future, particularly in the Paris Olympics. She discussed the introduction of younger players and a strategic shift to balance physicality with increased creativity and accuracy in the team's attacking style.

Playing her club soccer for Lyon in France, Horan contrasted the soccer culture there, noting a better understanding and appreciation of her game among French fans. Despite the challenges, Horan remains hopeful and determined about the trajectory of the USWNT as they navigate evolving expectations and strive for success on the international stage.

Feb. 3, 2024 1:10 p.m. 1965

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