September 20, 2021

USA send anti-racism message in Wales friendly

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The USA sent a powerful anti-racism message ahead of their international friendly against Wales at Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium.

The side, led out onto the field by captain Zack Steffen, wore tracksuit tops during the national anthems which read ‘Be the Change’ on the front.

On the backs, each player also had a personal anti-racism or unite message with both sets of players taking a knee ahead of kick-off.

A statement on USA’s website read: “With the goal of inspiring action on social justice issues, all of the players had “Be the Change” adorned on the front of their anthem jackets.

“The spirit of their message is that each and every person has the ability, opportunity and responsibility to make a difference in our own way.”

USA players lined up for the national anthems with anti-racism messages on the back of their training tops

The game is the USA’s first opportunity to show their support for racial equality following the death of George Floyd back in May.

Floyd’s death sparked worldwide protests, driven by the Black Lives Matter movement, which was subsequently echoed across the world of sport.

It led to numerous campaigns including players taking a knee before games and names replaced by ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the back of shirts.

USA’s line-up also saw highly-rated Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gio Reyna, who celebrates his 18th birthday on Friday, handed a USA debut with Fulham defender Antonee Robinson and Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen also in USA’s starting line-up.

Meanwhile, Wales made wholesale changes with forthcoming Nations League games against the Republic of Ireland and Finland in mind.

Gareth Bale was rested with Chris Gunter leading the side on his 98th appearance while goalkeeper Danny Ward, defender Tom Lockyer and striker Tom Lawrence also returned.