Former Canadian international Kaylyn Kyle says she received death threats after her criticism of the US women’s team over their goal celebrations during the record World Cup rout of Thailand.
Defending champions the US romped to a 13-0 win against the hapless Thais – ranked 34th in the world – in their Group F game in France earlier this week, with striker Alex Morgan netting five times.
But alongside praise for the ruthlessness of the American performance, there was criticism for the team continuing to celebrate each goal exuberantly even as the scoreline hit double figures.
Speaking on national broadcaster TSN, ex-Canada star Kyle, who earned more than 100 caps for her country before retiring from international football in 2017, branded the US team’s celebrations “disgusting” and disrespectful to the opposition.
“They’re the No.1 team in the world and for me, I’m disgusted, honestly.
“You’re going up against a team that’s first time in the World Cup, they’re just happy to be there. Celebrate, I get it, like a Mallory Pugh [who scored on her World Cup debut].
“But these people counting their goals, this … I’m embarrassed. I was a female professional athlete; there’s kids watching this and to be celebrating when it’s eight, nine, 10,” Kyle said.
The former midfielder has now revealed she received death threats as a result of those comments – also taking to Twitter to clarify her remarks.
“To the people sending me death threats, let me set the record straight!” Kyle wrote to her more than 50,000 followers.
“I never once said never to score as many goals as you can in a World Cup!!! Please watch full segment! I said the exact opposite it’s the Word Cup!!! You score as many as you can and you don’t take your foot off the gas pedal.
“I did say I thought it was excessive and disrespectful the goal celebrations of the American team once the score hit 8-0.
“Everyone is allowed their opinions towards my thoughts but please leave the death threats! I’m a big girl and love a debate but there is no need for this in this already crazy world,” she added.
Members of the US team have defended the celebrations, including five-goal hero Morgan, who told ESPN: “These are goals we have dreamt of our entire life… I couldn’t have dreamt of scoring five goals in a World Cup. So it’s incredible for us all and I’m happy just ignoring those comments.”
US legend Abby Wambach also said the team should be unrepentant, tweeting that “for some players this is there [sic] first World Cup goal, and they should be excited.
“Imagine it being you out there. This is your dream of playing and then scoring in a World Cup. Celebrate. Would you tell a men’s team to not score or celebrate?”
Others noted, however, that a men’s team still celebrating exuberantly when the scoreline hit double figures would likely face widespread mockery and criticism.