U.S. National Women’s Team finds support from local fans despite game cancellation

While Hawaii fans were disappointed they didn’t get to see the soccer game at Aloha Stadium, many still support the U.S. Women’s National Team for deciding not to play Sunday due to unsatisfactory artificial turf conditions.

Some neighbor island families, however, spent hundreds of dollars on airfare, tickets and transportation to get to Oahu to watch the team play.

One family from Maui said that while they support the team’s decision not to play, they said they just would have liked to known about the artificial turf issues at Aloha Stadium sooner.

But word of mouth on Sunday drove a large number of local soccer fans to an unannounced training session by the team at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.

Dawn Hatico said “we were very disappointed that we didn’t have the game, but we don’t want to see them get injured, so it is what it is.”

Over at Aloha Stadium, the Kaaihue family from Maui was there to get their ticket refunds. Chazz Kaaihue said they spent over a thousand dollars on airfare and approximately $70 each for tickets to the game.

Officials with the Aloha Stadium Authority said approximately 16,000 tickets were sold for Sunday’s game, and everyone will get a refund for tickets purchased.

They also said they made every effort to address the concerns about the surface.

When asked what he thought when goalkeeper Hope Solo tweeted the photo of her lifting up a seam on the artificial turf field, stadium manager Scott Chan said “that’s our integrity and reputation being put on the line. … I’m not sure what her intentions were, but we are trying to protect the integrity of our field.”

After canceling Sunday’s match, the U.S. Women’s National Team opted to hold a training session in Waipio.

Team members would later meet the fans who somehow heard about the unannounced session for photos and autographs.

Retiring forward Abby Wambach and head coach Jill Ellis spoke to the news media during the session, with loud cheers from the assembled occasionally coming from the stands.

“The reality is we have to be prepared for anything,” said Wambach, “and sometimes it’s making tough decisions and setting up what’s best for the team. Right now, it’s not taking the pitch against Trinidad (and Tobago) on that field.

We just lost a player (Megan Rapinoe) yesterday and we have to mindful of putting our players in a position where they can get injured, and that’s the number one concern – safety.

Wambach went on to say that “we’re sad — it’s our first time here in Hawaii and we wanted to give something to the fans to cheer about. We want them to make them feel part of our world, our culture,  so it’s a bummer, but we will come back. We just got to get a better pitch to play on.”

Ellis said they decided to do a training session because “so much is for preparations for the Olympics. … I have friends here, and they said ‘we’re behind you.’ At some point, it’s about the players’ health. That’s a priority.

“At some point, we would love to come back,” the coach said.

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U.S. Soccer says that all ticket purchasers will be fully refunded.

Ticket refund Information:

  • Internet and phone orders will be automatically refunded with a confirmation sent via email.
  • Fans that purchased tickets at Ticketmaster ticket centers will need to return their tickets to the location where the purchased was made to obtain a refund.
  • Those who purchased tickets at Aloha Stadium will need to return to the stadium box office which is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • If you bought tickets directly through U.S. Soccer, your refund will come from U.S. Soccer.

Fans with questions about their refund can contact their respective place of purchase directly:

  • Ticketmaster Fan Support at 800-653-8000
  • Aloha Stadium at (808) 486-9300
  • U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290 or tickets@ussoccer.org

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