U.S. Soccer's board of directors approved on Feb. 9 a new policy that will require players (and coaches and staff) to "stand respectfully" during the national anthems before national team games. The
rule comes after the move by Megan Rapinoe
to kneel before two friendlies in September.
Policy 604-1 says: "All persons representing a Federation national team shall stand
respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented."
After Rapinoe kneeled before a friendly against Thailand, U.S. Soccer issued a
statement that its expectation was "that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played." Rapinoe was not disciplined for the action.
who was acting in support of the similar action taken by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick
, has not played the USA since then, however. She was called in for friendlies against
Romania in November and a national team camp in January. But she was not picked for the SheBelieves Cup as U.S. national team coach Jill Ellis
has brought in a number of young players.
Rapinoe suffered a knee injury in December 2015 that sidelined her until the Rio Olympics, where she saw limited action. Ellis said
she told Rapinoe that her comeback was a marathon and not a sprint she needed to regain her match fitness.
TERM LIMITS. The National Council -- the entire U.S. Soccer membership -- approved a rule change that will limit the terms of officers to
just three terms totaling 12 years and 16 years for board members. Currently elected officers will be able to run for a final term. The move was supported by current president Sunil Gulati, who
was was elected unopposed for a third term in 2014. He'll be allowed to run for one more four-year term in 2018 if he desires.
-- Big East Conference commissioner Val Ackerman was
unanimously elected to the board of directors as an independent director and will serve a two-year term.