A National Women’s Soccer League match between the Western New York Flash and Seattle Reign was played Saturday on an unusually narrow field, drawing criticism from some players on the U.S. women’s national team.
With the Flash’s regular field hosting a music festival, the match was moved to Frontier Field in Rochester, New York, the home of a minor league baseball team.
The Flash said the field measured 100 yards by 58 yards, which meets International Football Association Board minimum standards. But NWSL standards call for a width of 70 yards.
National team midfielder Carli Lloyd called the field “shocking and embarrassing” on Twitter. Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe also weighed in, calling it unacceptable.
Christine Sinclair, who plays for the Canadian national team and the NWSL’s Portland Thorns, posted: “How is this ok? Not good enough for professional soccer. 6v6 field?”
NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush said in a statement that the league signed off on the move, but admitted it was the wrong decision in retrospect.
“As a professional league, we need to ensure that the integrity of the game is always respected both on and off the field,” Plush said. “We did not do that tonight and we apologize to the NWSL players, coaches and fans.”
Rapinoe, who plays for the Reign, issued a series of tweets, saying she hoped Plush realized how “disrespected the players feel in this moment.”
The Flash won the match 3-2.
The NWSL is in its fourth season.
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