USWNT Revealed Why Players ‘Turned Their Backs’ on World War 2 Veteran Ahead of Tokyo Olympics Warm-Up Match

Published 07/06/2021, 9:57 AM EDT


The USWNT played the second and final match of the two-game ‘send-off’ series against Mexico. After running the opponents over by 4 goals in the first game, the team was confident and motivated of another success before heading over to Tokyo in an attempt to win the Olympic Gold. 

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However, before the first whistle blew, the team was already in hot soup over the actions of several players. Pete DuPré, a World War 2 veteran, performed the US national anthem on his harmonica and while he was doing so, some players of the USWNT turned their backs on him. 

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The actions were heavily criticized and fans immediately began blasting the team for the behavior. A good number of the team, though not all, turned towards the opposite side of the field. However, the actions were justified later during the course of the match. 

The US Soccer Communications’ media handle clarified that the players were not turning their backs on the WW2 veteran, but were instead adjusting themselves to face the American flag which was at the other side of the stadium. 

“To be clear, no one turned their back on WWII Veteran Pete DuPré during tonight’s anthem. Some USWNT players were simply looking at the flag on a pole in one end of the stadium,” revealed the team. “The players all love Pete, thanked him individually after the game and signed a ball for him.”

Carli Lloyd defended the actions of the USWNT

In a tweet after the match, USWNT forward Carli Lloyd confirmed the same. “We turned because we faced the flag,” she wrote, silencing all the criticism directed towards the team. Even though some fans continued to dispute the explanation, a video of the players greeting DuPré and signing a ball for him after the match was more than enough to clear the issue. 

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The USWNT put on a scintillating display yet again, repeating the same scoreline as the first match as they beat Mexico 4-0. Tobin Heath etched her name on the scoresheet yet again by netting in the fourth goal in the 39th minute, proceeded by goals from Carli Lloyd, Lindsey Horan, and an unfortunate own goal from Reyna Stubblefield.

Needless to say, the team is ready to win the Olympic Gold and if they carry this form forward to Tokyo, it may just be inevitable.

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Luke Dias

1476 articles

Luke Dias is a senior WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports, having published more than 1000 articles on professional wrestling. Having completed courses in Advanced Writing from the University of California and Media and Ethics from the University of Amsterdam, Luke is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Xavier’s College. His tremendous knowledge of WWE history enables him to make past connections, adding depth to the articles.

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