HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Days after the U.S. women's national soccer team exhibition game at the Aloha Stadium was canceled at the last minute due to unsafe turf conditions, the president of U.S. Soccer issued a public apology Tuesday in a New York Times article.
"We had a series of mistakes involving this game," Sunil Gulati told the Times. "We screwed up. It won't happen again."
Gulati, who made the decision to cancel the game against Trinidad and Tobago less than 24 hours before it was supposed to happen, said the unsafe artificial turf field was "absolutely a black eye for this organization."
Gulati told the Times that federation protocol called for a field inspection of new or unusual venues ahead of time, but of the 10 venues being used for the team's tour, Honolulu's was the only one where an inspection did not happen.
According to the article, Rich Nichols, general counsel for the Women's National Team Players Association, said there was a possibility that the players may seek to cancel remaining games – which are set to be played on artificial turf -- on their tour that's celebrating the Americans' big win at the Women's World Cup.
The announcement of the cancellation of Sunday's game came late Saturday after players called the field conditions unsafe.
Aloha Stadium Manager Scott Chan and Stadium Authority Chair Charles Toguchi said it was not their decision to call off the event and that U.S. Soccer officials notified them about the cancellation late Saturday night. About 16,000 tickets were sold, and everyone would be refunded, they added.
Chan said although a contract was signed and U.S. Soccer officials inspected the field on Thursday, the team had not been to the stadium prior to Saturday.
"When they signed the contract and they came on Thursday, they made it very clear that it was acceptable," Chan said.
The last-minute cancellation has led to finger-pointing and thousands of disappointed fans.
"We love our women's national team, and we've put so much behind them," Gulati said. "So, for this kind of a screw-up to happen just makes it feel like that much more of a step back."