USMNT's Weston McKennie Criticizes Copa America Field Conditions, Atmospheres

Oct 17, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; United States midfielder Weston McKennie (8) leaves the field after warmups before the match against Ghana at GEODIS Park.
Oct 17, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; United States midfielder Weston McKennie (8) leaves the field after warmups before the match against Ghana at GEODIS Park. / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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The United States has yet to play a game in this year's Copa America—it'll open play Sunday evening against Bolivia.

However, American midfielder Weston McKennie already has some pointers for the tournament's organizers after watching Argentina shut out Canada 2–0 in Thursday's tournament opener in Atlanta.

In an interview with Ben Burrows and Pablo Maurer of The Athletic published Friday evening, McKennie decried both the field conditions for the event and the sterility of soccer atmospheres in America.

“I think what (Argentina goalie Emiliano) Martinez was saying was completely true,” he said. “It’s frustrating, especially as a player. You know, whenever you do come here to America you play in a stadium that can fit 70,000 people but 25,000 show up. You don’t really have an atmosphere. And then you’re playing on a football field, with laid grass that’s all patchy and it breaks up every step you take. It’s frustrating.”

After the Argentinians' victory, Martinez slammed the playing surface at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, calling it "a trampoline."

“If you look at the (European Championship), they’re all playing on great fields, great grass, football-specific stadiums, soccer-specific stadiums, and you see the quality of the football,” McKennie said.

McKennie has played his entire senior career in Europe—with Schalke 04, Juventus and Leeds United—and it clearly shows in his diagnosis of American soccer's woes.


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres is a staff writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in December 2022, having worked for The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword and Diamond Digest. Andres has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a double major in history .