‘Live in the moment.’ Soccer pundits defend U.S. player celebrations at World Cup

Who could have guessed that a storyline coming out of the Women’s World Cup would be celebrations?

And, yet, people were criticizing the U.S. players for their joyful reactions to scoring goals Tuesday during a 13-0 rout of Thailand in France. That didn’t sit well with some observers who defended Team USA.

Here is what columnists and former players were saying in defense of the U.S. players.

USA Today’s Nancy Armour wrote a column headlined: “US women owe no apologies for celebrating 13-0 blowout of Thailand.”

Here is an excerpt: “You want the Americans to impose the slaughter rule or patronize their opponents by pretending they didn’t just tack another goal onto the scoreline? Go join the 6-year-olds in the park. Maybe you’ll get a participation trophy and an orange slice while you’re at it.

“This is high-level competition, and the Americans have no reason to apologize for treating it as such.”

Former U.S. women’s star Abby Wambach tweeted:

Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post wrote a column headlined, “The U.S. women’s national team is an American treasure. Pay them a bounty.”

Here is a snippet: “I don’t want to hear another word about whether the Americans scored too much or over-celebrated. This is a team in full attack mode, fighting not just to win a World Cup, but to prove a larger point about their worth. They’ve been denied fair pay compared to their men’s team for years and they’re out to make a statement about just how good they are, both on the pitch and in the court of public opinion. You don’t make up a chronic pay gap with ladylike restraint. You do it by kicking through a wall.”

Former U.S. national team players Leslie Osborne, Maurice Edu, Christie Pearce and Cobi Jones defended the celebrations during Fox Sports’ studio show:

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