You already know the story. Reign FC lost to Western New York Flash 3-2 but what everyone is talking about is the shrunken field they played on. Now, the players for Reign FC are dropping in their thoughts post-match. Of course during the match, we saw Megan Rapinoe comment on it.
I joked earlier but this field is unacceptable. @NSWL @JeffPlush are you watching this? Why would you allow this?— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) July 10, 2016
First and certainly not one short of words was our dragon, Jess Fishlock.
I love playing in this league. I do. But tonight was embarrassing & insulting to every single player in this league. It has to be better. ☔️— Jessica Fishlock (@JessFishlock) July 10, 2016
It's not about winning or losing ... It's about Respect. Tonight there was non & that's a Shame from such a good League.— Jessica Fishlock (@JessFishlock) July 10, 2016
Dear @JeffPlush @NWSL .. I hope you can take 10 min out of your day tomorrow to reflect on this shambles & put it right. Many Thanks. WOSO.— Jessica Fishlock (@JessFishlock) July 10, 2016
Soon after Fishlock’s tweets, captain Keelin Winters chimed in. Her addition of talking about a player’s union being overdue is something that’s been talked about (notably on 2 Drunk Fans’ episode with Ella Masar). Is it possible that this match is the genesis of players in the NWSL uniting and establishing a player’s union soon?
Its clear the @NWSL leadership doesn't have many (any?) standards... We are well past due for a players union.— Keelin Winters (@KeelinWinters) July 10, 2016
Goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer started the match but left because of what looked to be a scary ankle injury. No word yet on the severity of her injury, but an argument can be made that because of the narrow field, you have that throw-in (see GIF below) going so deep into the box and thus Kopmeyer has to come out to try and defend it.
It’s a complete "what if" in that maybe the injury still happens and we can only just play that "what if" game if they were playing on a regular field. All we know is what happened: Kopmeyer went out to defend the throw-in but came into contact with Jess Fishlock and went down. Complete freak accident. Still, Kopmeyer chimed in about the field.
All things aside, and while injuries do happen, I truly believe the @NWSL compromised on player safety tonight. https://t.co/q8gbyfGgXQ— Haley Kopmeyer (@hkopmeyer) July 10, 2016
I'm living out my dream playing professional soccer but I hope this is a learning moment and won't happen again- for the sake of the players— Haley Kopmeyer (@hkopmeyer) July 10, 2016
Defender Rachel Corsie also had something to say.
No excuses. Absolutely not good enough today.— Rachel Corsie (@RachelCorsie14) July 10, 2016
But in all seriousness,that was a disgrace and a complete lack of respect for the sport @NWSL
As did midfielder Michelle Cruz.
Absolutely appalling that this happened tonight. Game should have never been allowed to start. https://t.co/zsBiE4T0xM— Michelle Cruz (@CruzMichelle20) July 10, 2016
Forward Beverly Yanez retweeted Corsie’s, but think about it — when Beverly Yanez is mad, you know you did something wrong.
Just simply unacceptable... https://t.co/OZSHmOPzDL— Beverly(Goebel)Yanez (@beverlygoebel) July 10, 2016
The reactions so far from the Reign organization weren’t just limited to the players. At the time of this post we have yet to hear from head coach/general manager Laura Harvey but youth academy coach Tracey Kevins had something to say.
Seattle Reign playing 11-aside on a 5-aside pitch #tekers— Tracey Kevins (@TraceyKevins) July 9, 2016
Typically in sports when players and/or coaches criticize league officials, referees or management, they get fined. Certainly the NWSL is no exception to this, but the volume in which not just Reign FC players but players across the league have taken to social media to blast the league and its commissioner Jeff Plush is something you don’t see often in sports.
This is embarrassing @NWSL @JeffPlush there needs to be a standard.... a field is the most important part! https://t.co/0a0vodJEBY— Kaylyn Kyle (@KaylynKyle) July 10, 2016
@NWSL How is this ok? Not good enough for professional soccer. 6v6 field? pic.twitter.com/QXEZ4A8PiZ— Christine Sinclair (@sincy12) July 10, 2016
Over the course of the match and since then, the league has been roasted on social media and certainly fining the players for voicing their opinions would only make them look worse. Time will tell what ramifications if any come from this.
NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush released a statement regarding tonight’s match:
"Earlier this evening, the Western New York Flash hosted a home match at a different venue due to Rhinos Stadium not being available.
The field dimensions were not up to our standards, but due to various factors, the league office made the decision to grant an exception for this evening’s match. In retrospect, we made the wrong decision.
As a professional league, we need to ensure that the integrity of the game is always respected both on and off the field. We did not do that tonight and we apologize to the NWSL players, coaches and fans.
In the future, we will ensure that every NWSL match meets our standards."
Some Reign players have already reacted to the league’s statement.
Of course @NWSL has to apologize,but all @JeffPlush said was"we knew it wasnt up to standard,approved it anyway, sorry" Apology not accpeted— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) July 10, 2016
I sincerely hope @JeffPlush understands how disrespected the players feel in this moment. Some players play for almost no money, the least— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) July 10, 2016
They should be able expect from @nwsl is respect and fair treatment.— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) July 10, 2016
Wait ... What ... That's it ? ... Literally DID take 10 min of your Time Jeff ... !!!!!— Jessica Fishlock (@JessFishlock) July 10, 2016
Wish I could say I didn't absolutely bawl my eyes out reading this... https://t.co/aH51NIKYFs— Haley Kopmeyer (@hkopmeyer) July 10, 2016