Aloha Stadium officials answer to US women's soccer game cancellation, disappointed fans
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The last-minute cancellation of an international soccer match between the U.S. Women's National Team and Trinidad and Tobago at Aloha Stadium for Sunday has led to finger-pointing and thousands of disappointed fans.
The dispute is now making national headlines after the Women's National Team expressed concerns about playing on the artificial turf at the stadium.
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.
Chan and Toguchi said they were both stunned by the decision.
"When they signed the contract and they came on Thursday, they made it very clear that is was acceptable. Nothing came up until last night at the last hour," Chan said.
"They were OK with the field until it was brought up by the players. And so my question is did they do their due diligence?" said Toguchi.
Chan said the turf was installed in 2011 and is still under warranty by the manufacturer. He said he disagrees with the accusations that the playing surface is unsafe because they have a local contractor who maintains and inspects the field twice a year.
Chan said about 16,000 tickets were sold for Sunday's match and everyone will be refunded.
"It was a really big disappointment for us because I was really looking forward to today. We all bought our gear, we had our U.S. things going, we had our signs made, and the fact that it got cancelled was pretty disappointing," said soccer fan Chaylyn Navares.
Navares and her father attended the women's training session at the stadium on Saturday and were planning on going to Sunday's game.
"Yes, I did see Hope inspecting the field where the goal, the south end zone…and she pulled up the turf and she immediately flagged down stadium staff and said this is not acceptable," Kalani Navares said.
Goalkeeper Hope Solo's tweet revealing the stadium's field conditions went viral Saturday night.
On Sunday, the team showed up at the Waipio Soccer Complex for an unannounced practice, surprising many of their fans who were previously disappointed.
"I'm glad we actually had the opportunity to see them practice and see how they work and what it takes to get to that level," said Navares.
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.
Toguchi said the stadium and stadium authority made every effort to try and service their request and wished soccer officials had notified them about the match cancellation sooner so they could have notified ticket holders sooner.
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