Hawaii AG reviewing U.S. Soccer letter after women's game canceled
HONOLULU -- Hawaii's attorney general is reviewing a letter that says Aloha Stadium defaulted on its agreement with the U.S. women's soccer team.
The letter from U.S. Soccer Federation lawyer Lisa Levine said it was the stadium's responsibility to provide a first-class field. But the field provided by the Stadium Authority for an exhibition Sunday was "unfit, unsafe and unplayable," she said.
The field "has seams, is uneven and contains pebbles as part of the infill through the surface," she said.
The federation cited poor field conditions when it abruptly canceled the game last weekend.
Josh Wisch, spokesman for the Hawaii attorney general, said Tuesday that his office is reviewing the letter. Aloha Stadium Deputy Manager Lois Manin declined to comment Tuesday, citing the attorney general's involvement. She said no repairs were planned for the stadium.
Stadium officials had previously disagreed with the claim that the field is unsafe.
"The playing surface was installed in 2011 and is still under warranty by the manufacturer," Stadium Manager Scott Chan said in a news release Sunday. "This is a matter of preference by U.S. Soccer and being unfairly portrayed as a matter of safety. We have not had any issues with the safety of the turf with any of our users to date until now."
The United States was scheduled to pay Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday in Hawaii as part of a 10-game exhibition tour celebrating the American victory in the Women's World Cup last summer.
The U.S. team collectively issued a statement on The Players' Tribune website Sunday night describing the conditions when the team went to the field the day before the match.
"There were sharp rocks ingrained all over the field. They were everywhere. The artificial turf was actually pulling up out of the ground, and the turf itself was both low-grade and aging. This was a playing surface that looked like it hadn't been replaced in years," the statement said.
The poor conditions were not limited to the field at Aloha Stadium, players said. On Friday, midfielder Megan Rapinoe tore a ligament in her right knee during practice on a grass training field in Honolulu. Although there was no way to say whether the injury was connected to the field, the practice field was also in poor condition, players said.
"Megan's injury took place while playing on a subpar training field," the U.S. players said on The Players' Tribune. "The grass on the training pitch itself was in bad shape. All along the pitch, sewer plates and plastic coverings were laying on the sidelines."
The players, who apologized to fans, said they had to put their safety first. The U.S. federation said it would issue full refunds for the tickets sold.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority had planned to sponsor the soccer match. But on Monday, the tourism group said it never shelled out the $200,000 it had agreed to pay the U.S. Soccer Federation to serve as marketing sponsor because it never received a fully executed, notarized contract from the soccer organization.
The United States will play Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday in San Antonio as the tour continues.