USWNT’s Sauerbrunn asks US government for humanitarian parole to Afghanistan women’s soccer team

USWNT’s Sauerbrunn asks US government for humanitarian parole to Afghanistan women’s soccer team

U.S. defender Becky Sauerbrunn (4), forward Lynn Williams (13) and teammates acknowledge fans after a 3-1 win over Japan in a SheBelieves Cup soccer match Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Frisco, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

Members of the US Women’s National Soccer Team penned a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on behalf of the Afghan Women’s National Soccer Team who are still in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“The women of the Afghan WNT are not just soccer players. They are activists and trailblazers in their country. Our soccer community needs to unite and ask that these women are given the aid they need,” native St. Louisan and captain of the USWNT Becky Sauerbrunn wrote on Twitter along with a photo of the letter.

Since the US troops have pulled out of Afghanistan, the Taliban has now taken over. Educated Afghan women have some of the most to lose under the fundamentalist Taliban, whose past government, overthrown by the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, sought to largely confine women to the home.

The letter written by Sauerbrunn and other women’s soccer players said, “The women of Afghanistan’s National Soccer Team are being hunted, their lives threatened, all for being involved in the sport we love.”

The women were told to delete social media posts and any photographs of themselves with the team in an attempt to be undetected.

Some members of the team flew from Kabul to Australia on Tuesday. The global soccer players’ union FIFPRO was at the forefront of this effort. Khalida Popal is one of the founders of the Afghanistan team and she is a former team captain. She is among the team of FIFPRO lawyers working to get the athletes out of Afghanistan.

FIFPRO general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said evacuations had been “an incredibly complex process.”

“Our hearts go out to all the others who remain stranded in the country against their will,” Baer-Hoffmann said.

Players in the US asked Blinken to “grant humanitarian parole and immediate protection to the Afghan women soccer players that are in grave danger.”

Orlando Pride and USWNT player Alex Morgan, Portland Thorns FC player and FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion Meghan Klingenberg, OL Reign and USWNT player Rose Lavelle, Portland Thorns FC and USWNT player Crystal Dunn, North Carolina Courage and USWNT player Sam Mewis, and Washington Spirit player and former USWNT member Jordan DiBiasi also signed the letter.

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