U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Kneels in Protest Ahead of Olympic Match

by Keeli Parkey

The U.S. women’s soccer team has joined the growing list of teams kneeling in protest prior to their competitions.

According to Fox News, the team took a knee on the field just before the kickoff of its Olympic match in Japan against Sweden on Wednesday, July 21.

Players knelt after taking the field. The referee of the match blew the whistle signaling for it to begin. At that time, players for the United States and Sweden took a knee on the field. One of the referees of the match is also said to have participated in the protest. The players knelt for a moment, then the match began.

They reportedly did so as a way to protest racism, discrimination, and inequality. Players from the soccer teams of Britain and Chile also knelt at their Olympic match.

Kneeling in protest is a way for the members of the U.S. Women’s soccer team to show the world what they stand for, according to one of its most outspoken members.

“It’s an opportunity for us to continue to use our voices and use our platforms to talk about the things that affect all of us intimately in different ways,” Megan Rapinoe said.

“We have people from Team USA, from all over the country, from all backgrounds, and people literally from all over the world for every other team so I obviously encourage everyone to use that platform to the best of their ability to do the most good that they possibly can in the world, especially as all eyes are on Tokyo these next couple weeks,” Rapinoe also said.

The U.S. women’s soccer team lost to Sweden, 3-0.

Other Teams Join U.S. Women’s Soccer Team By Taking a Knee Before Olympic Match

The British soccer team reportedly chose to perform the well-known act of protest during a team meeting before traveling to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games.

“We felt strongly as a group that we wanted to show support for those affected by discrimination and equality,” Britain captain Steph Houghton said. Her team defeated Chile 2-0. “It was a proud moment because the Chile players took the knee too to show how united we are as (a) sport.”

At first, the Chilean soccer team did not appear to notice that their British opponents were taking a knee. Once they did, however, players joined in.

“It was an issue of not being in sync. We weren’t able to communicate properly due to the language,” Chilean midfielder Karen Araya said. “The moment we saw the English taking the knee right away we decided to do the same and of course we are in favor of this type of thing.”

Players making political statements during the Tokyo Olympics have been expected by the Internation Olympic Committee (IOC). They are allowed to do so prior to competitions or during introductions. However, what they choose to do must meet the guidelines set by the IOC.