Jill Ellis dismissed criticism the United States faced for goal celebrations in her team’s first World Cup match against Thailand, describing it as part of the game.
USA were questioned for over-celebrating as the score reached 13-0, setting a record for either a men’s or women’s World Cup match, with former Canada international Kaylyn Kyle labelling them “disrespectful”.
USA head coach Ellis, however, explained her team were not celebrating the goals as much as they were celebrating the players and the hard work that went into scoring on the World Cup stage.
“Goals are pretty hard to come by in our sport and I think the meaning behind those goals, the people behind those goals – you got to celebrate that,” Ellis told reporters ahead of Sunday’s clash with Chile.
“That night was about celebrating people. I was most excited on the last goal we scored because that was Carli Lloyd. And I know all the history and all the background of that player to get to that moment and what that meant.
“So I think that’s important to put the human element in this as well. It might seem a scoreline to you, but it’s also years and years of work and the pride I had in that moment – I didn’t know the score.
“I wasn’t celebrating the goal. I was celebrating Carli. I think that’s important.”