USWNT are ‘past protesting phase’ as they stand for national anthem | USA women’s football team

For the first time this year, the entire US women’s soccer team stood for the national anthem before the game.

“I think those that were collectively kneeling felt like we were kneeling to bring about attention to police brutality and systemic racism,” Crystal Dunn said after USA’s 2-0 win over Brazil. “Moving forward, we decided we no longer feel the need to kneel because we are doing the work behind the scenes. We are combating systemic racism. We never felt we were going to kneel forever.”

Dunn, who is black, said she believes the USWNT has made strides in addressing racial injustice but said there is still more that can be done.

“For me personally I’ve always felt like I’m a testament to a lot of black experiences,” she said. “I am a black athlete who has often felt like I have not been heard or not been seen and many black people feel the same way. I think we’ve had those initial discussions, and I feel better about where this team is. But I do think moving forward, we’re prepared to just continue working off the field and continuously having these conversations.

“Even though we are choosing to stand, it doesn’t mean that the conversations go away, or they stop. It’s all to say that we are now, I think, ready to move past the protesting phase and actually move into putting all of the talk into actual work.”

Once the game started Christen Press scored in the 11th minute, Megan Rapinoe added a late goal and the US women beat Brazil 2-0.

The US sit atop the SheBelieves Cup standings with two wins. The United States, winner of the last two World Cups, are now unbeaten in 36 straight games overall and 52 straight at home.

“One thing that I’ve learned playing on the US women’s national team is that you have to prepare for every single game as if it’s the most important game of your life,” Press said. “So that’s kind of the approach I take.”

Alex Morgan made her first start for the national team since giving birth to daughter Charlie last year. Morgan and Press were subbed out in the 71st minute and replaced with Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd.

After she scored, Rapinoe made a baby-rocking gesture in honor of teammates Ali Krieger and Ashlynn Harris, who recently adopted daughter Sloane.

“I’m very happy that we’re creating chances and the fact that we’re doing it in a manner that is very creative with some good plays makes me very happy and tells me that we’re moving in the right direction,” US coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “Now the fact that we’re not finishing, it’s not disappointing, but it’s something we need to address.”

The US beat Canada 1-0 in their SheBelieves Cup opener on Thursday, while Brazil defeated rival Argentina 4-1. Canada beat Argentina in Sunday’s other game.

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