U.S. Soccer: New national anthem protocol approved

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.

Rapinoe, 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 saidshe 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. 

33 comments about "U.S. Soccer: New national anthem protocol approved".
  1. Nick Daverese, March 6, 2017 at 1:04 a.m.

    Colin's contract was not renewed. He made a public statement if another team picked him up he would stand for the national anthem, and not take a knee.

    So evidently free speech plays second fiddle to making money.

  2. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 6, 2017 at 9:44 a.m.

    Actually, Kaepernick opted out of his contract to become a free agent.

  3. Quarterback TD, March 6, 2017 at 8:24 a.m.

    This is a good move by USSF to force any one being disrespectful to have some form of common courtesy for the country, people and themselves in a sport that has nothing to do with the the policies and events that may be taking place. This is a policy that is enforced for anyone working under the USSF umbrella and is no different than your boss in a private or public company making rules regarding how you dress and how you represent the company in meetings.. However it does not control the fans from not standing up. Free Speech is extremely important but invoking negative sentiments to a group of anyone will always has conflicts and one must be able to take those repucations when they decide to demonstrate their dumb free speech mentality.. Case in point the ex-quarterback from San Francisco who is no unemployed or the guy who teeth was knocked out 3 years ago in Giants Stadium when he refuse to stand up..

  4. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 6, 2017 at 9:45 a.m.

    "Athletes are not workers in a company and even a company has no right to take your free speech away." Actually they are employees, just like "workers in a company" and companies have every right to restrict speech.

  5. Quarterback TD replied, March 6, 2017 at 9:58 a.m.

    Tom, I get your point but is it ok to suspend Hope Solo for the things she said about another team but at the same time allow a players to show disrespect to the US by not standing for the flag ? Sometimes I think we get carried away by this free speech nonsense because we give the individual a lot of attention instead of ignoring their actions..

  6. Quarterback TD replied, March 6, 2017 at 10:06 a.m.

    Tom, sorry you on your own with that protest by boycotting the game.. As much as I dont like the NYRB I will continue to go to a few games just to support the MLS and my son's team. But your sentiments are understood it's your rights to express how you feel but somehow I don't think you will get too much support..

  7. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 6, 2017 at 10:36 a.m.

    Feel free to boycott Tom but I don't think many will be joining you judging by the full house at RBA (despite inhospitable temperatures) for the game against England this weekend. I wouldn't agree with a ban on off-field statements but when you are on the field before a game, you are "at work" and the employer has every right to regulate your conduct. Michael Bradley and Geoff Cameron have both been vocal lately about Trump's travel ban (from opposite sides of the political spectrum) but I don't want either making any political statements during the national anthem or on the field. I have no issue with them doing so on their own time, just like any of the rest of us.

  8. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 6, 2017 at 1:09 p.m.

    I would have ignored it. I.e. I wouldn't have boycotted national team games because some players chose to protest during the anthem. However, I support the current US Soccer policy.

  9. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 6, 2017 at 2:03 p.m.

    Get over yourself. Employees don't have "free speech" rights at work. I can't start protesting outside my boss's office if I disagree with a decision he makes without getting fired. National team players are employees of US Soccer and subject to US Soccer's rules when playing for the national team.

  10. Tim Gibson, March 6, 2017 at 8:49 a.m.

    This is a No-Brainer & it should be extended to all in the Olympic games as well. "IF" Only the Entertainment industry had similar values!

  11. K Michael, March 6, 2017 at 11:10 a.m.

    Tom, why this is scandalous! I had no idea that colleges around the country were sending squads of armed goons into our inner cities, kidnapping young blacks, and forcing them to play football and basketball. I demand a congressional inquiry! I always thought these athletic types were given full scholarships, three hots and a tricked up cot to ply their trade; and they appear so happy to do so. Color me duped!

  12. K Michael, March 6, 2017 at 11:22 a.m.

    Tom, you Progs would get so much more mileage outside of your little circular pity-parties if you weren’t so bloody emotional and detached from things like human nature, economic reality, and scientific inquiry. You really are having a difficult time understanding why an employer would require a certain decorum towards the very symbol that employer represents? And due to this confusion, you really feel that this policy is within one standard deviation of Nazi policy? The irony of the eternal Prog “cry fascism” is that the Nazi party was a leftwing Socialist one. You really need to broaden your horizons. Seriously

  13. Goal Goal, March 6, 2017 at 11:57 a.m.

    The federation is right. If you wear the colors and represent the country you follow the rules. If anyone wants to kneel do it and then pay the price. Simple.

    Tom I would suggest you should pack your bags and hit the road.

  14. frank schoon, March 6, 2017 at 12:26 p.m.

    As far as I'm concerned leave politics out of sports, here. I come to the stadium to watch a game and I'm not interested in what the inner feelings are of a player concerning the world. That is not what people go to a stadium for, to watch some self absorbed athlete telling everyone how I feel. When you choose to elect to wear your country's uniform that means you accept what your country stands for. And if you seriously have a problem with that than don't wear the uniform . I can respect that but the other way you're trying to have your cake and eat it too.

  15. frank schoon replied, March 6, 2017 at 1:19 p.m.

    TOM, let us keep to the subject at hand and not go off on a tangent. People pay money to see a game. They chose the venue and paid for what they wanted to see which is soccer and don't want to be accosted to a political debate or watch a display of political feelings of a player.

  16. frank schoon replied, March 6, 2017 at 2:06 p.m.

    Tom , I didn't assume anything. I simply stated I paid to watch soccer, that is why I come to the stadium. That player should show more respect and understanding for those, who came to the stadium ,innocently enough for soccer, and not to be burdened by her political display which might be upsetting to those came to enjoy the game.The fans didn't ask for her extra curricular political display. What she did had nothing to do what so ever with soccer that the fans paid to watch. It had to do with a 3rd party , the fans, who paid to watch a game of soccer and are not interested in her relationship with her employer or her political BS, which are all extraneous...

  17. Nick Daverese, March 6, 2017 at 12:27 p.m.

    Progressive Democrats like to say going to political rallies of republicans is just practicing their right to free speech Then they make sure they shout down the other sides speakers that is not free free speech. Then when they leave they physically hit older people who was there to hear the speaker talk.

    That not free speech that is the action of paid anarchists.

    Sorry fire On kaepernick did not op out. He played like crap and the team released him. They he begged a team to pick him up and said if they did he would stand. I doubt if another team will pick him up.

  18. Fire Paul Gardner Now, March 6, 2017 at 1:11 p.m.

    http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/18818589/colin-kaepernick-opts-contract-becomes-free-agent Wrong as usual Nick.

  19. Nick Daverese, March 6, 2017 at 2:31 p.m.

    2 wrongs never make a right. But beating up older people is always wrong.

  20. Nick Daverese, March 6, 2017 at 2:34 p.m.

    Am I wrong so what team will Colin play for next season?

  21. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 6, 2017 at 3:33 p.m.

    You are wrong that he was released. I don't know or care which team he will play for next season, if any.

  22. Fire Paul Gardner Now, March 6, 2017 at 3:33 p.m.

    What happened to "free speech" guy's many many comments on this thread?

  23. Mike Calcaterra, March 6, 2017 at 4:56 p.m.

    The first amendment “prohibits the making of any law…abridging the freedom of speech”. Like all of the bill of rights, it is simple. There is no assurance of freedom from consequences for exercising your free speech. The 49ers and the NFL made their bed and appear restless lying upon it. US Soccer drastically over-reacted to Hope Solo's outburst. It was an ill considered outburst not a thoroughly thought out political stance to disrespect the country they represent. This is a sane ruling by US Soccer, unlike giving the best goalkeeper in the world the death penaly.

  24. frank schoon, March 6, 2017 at 5:42 p.m.

    What happened to TC is ridiculous. There is nothing in what he stated deserved expulsion. I hope it wasn't one of us who debated him that complained, for it were I think he is real idiot. It is beginning to look like Russia after the revolution...This is simply uncalled for..

  25. schultz rockne, March 6, 2017 at 5:53 p.m.

    Simple response: all national team players--and coaches--take a seat during the anthem. Supporters, too. It's the perfect time to protest any fascist-leaning proclamations/institutions/people. "All persons SHALL stand..." Dangerous territory, US Soccer. Geoff Cameron can stand, though, if it somehow eases his prejudices.

  26. Quarterback TD, March 6, 2017 at 8:33 p.m.

    If the US National Anthem is playing in Russia, China or North Korea at a sports events and you sit down you will be arrested. I wonder if these disrespectful athletes making millions will do that in those countries ? Or is it just in the US where they know they will have the support of a few that don't care about the millions of soldiers that died in foreign wars as well as the thousands of police and regular civilians that fought for a better place to live on this planet that died ? Listen I am all for free speech but there is a time and place for everything and upsetting me even befor the game starts by sitting down is not something I payed my money for..

  27. Bob Ashpole, March 6, 2017 at 10:26 p.m.

    Wow! Apparently I missed a firestorm of emotional "discussion."

  28. frank schoon replied, March 7, 2017 at 10:09 a.m.

    Bob, you didn't miss anything, that's is the problem. TC didn't call anyone names or such or be an embarrassment ,being nasty or so , he was just expressing his opinion on which most of us in own of another disagreed on. I'm really shocked that this happened. He didn't deserve this....

  29. K Michael, March 7, 2017 at 12:12 p.m.

    Please, SA, reinstate Tom! Vigorous debate should be welcome; I do not recall any particular venom or name-calling coming from Tom. We may strongly disagree with each other but we should always respect the right to express -even if it is offensive. Freedom of Speech is FOR offensive, provocative speech, not for everybody to just preach to the choir!

  30. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 7, 2017 at 3:42 p.m.

    Freedom to post whatever you feel like on someone else's website is not a basic freedom. You do realize the first amendment applies only to government regulation of speech right?

  31. Bob Ashpole replied, March 7, 2017 at 10:13 p.m.

    That is not exactly true FPGN. It aplies to public forums and public places. Private parties may provide public forums and places.

  32. Bob Ashpole, March 7, 2017 at 10:20 p.m.

    Free Speech is not a an absolute right to say anything, anywhere, and any time. The buzz words are that it can be regulated by reasonable time place and manner restrictions. A lot of governments require permits for instance. Think about someone going to your local park at 2 am with a bullhorn to exercise his free speech rights. Regardless of what they have to say, no one wants to hear it at 2 am.

  33. Bob Ashpole replied, March 8, 2017 at 1:03 a.m.

    I think I am discussing the subject of the article--the new USSF protocol.

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