FC Kansas City had their last road game of the season last night in Seattle, a 1-0 win to eliminate the Reign from postseason qualification thanks to a 23rd minute goal by Shea Groom. The bigger news of the night though came before the game when four FC Kansas City players chose to stay in the locker room for the national anthem. The nine players chose to sit out the anthem ceremony as a protest against racial inequality and police brutality, something that has been national news recently and sparked a larger protest with this weekend’s NFL games.
The four KC players, Yael Averbuch, Sydney Leroux, Desiree Scott, and team captain (and US national team captain) Becky Sauerbrunn, were joined in their protest by five members of the Reign including Eli Reed, Madalyn Schiffel, Lauren Barnes, Diana Matheson, and Megan Rapinoe, who made headlines last year for choosing to take a knee during the national anthem for both club and country leading to a change in US Soccer policy requiring all players to stand for the anthem. All four Kansas City players started the game for the Blues, coming on after the ceremony.
Leroux after the game game stated that she was inspired to do the protest by her son, telling Sounder at Heart: “I have a baby and I want him to look up to me and be proud of who I am and what I stand for.”
Leroux and the rest of the Kansas City players that chose to sit out the anthem also had the support of their coach, Vlatko Andonovski, who praised both the players that sat out and the ones who did come out for the anthem. The FC Kansas City organization also backed their players, putting out a statement after the game supporting their players’ decision.
FC Kansas City will close out their 2017 season next week at home against the Houston Dash at Children’s Mercy Victory Field.