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U.S. Soccer Team

SORRY We Dissed

Our Troops

6/13/2012 10:04 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0612_us_soccer_team_twitter_guatemala_cityThe U.S. soccer team insists ... they didn't mean to snub American troops at a Guatemalan airport Monday -- blowing past the soldiers' big welcoming party for the team -- so the players are apologizing.

Team America flew in for a World Cup qualifying match against Guatemala -- and troops stationed in the Central American country came to greet them on the tarmac and cheer them on to victory.

But when the team got off the plane ... they made a beeline for the bus, not saying a word to the soldiers ... not even a "thank you." The troops were understandably insulted.

The soldiers' friends and family took to Facebook to express their disgust -- writing messages like, "What a disgrace that a team that wears our American colors can't take 5 minutes to acknowledge the soldiers that fight for what those colors represent."

Now, a rep for the team tells TMZ, "The players and staff were simply unsure of the correct protocol in terms of engaging the military members on arrival to Guatemala ... [the players] weren't sure if they were welcoming them or providing security."

We're told their apology went over pretty well -- no hard feelings. (FYI -- Guatemala tied the game last night with a late goal in the 83rd minute. Boo.)

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!
194 COMMENTS

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16.

TIMZ    

Why are our soldiers throwing a "WELCOMING PARTY" for a soccer team? Time for some budget cuts, Washington.

770 days ago
17.

Ben    

unsure of the correct protocol

Are you kidding me? US Soccer Team - US Military, if you have to think about it, your not a true American.

770 days ago
18.

Christine    

Wow, looks like the troops are casual to me. It's amazing the disrespect people show our military. Shake a soldiers hand and thank them for their service no matter if you are unsure of protocol. It's a bunch of BS from a bunch of losers.

770 days ago
19.

Jexica    

Aaawww, that’s so sad. I don’t care if I thought they were there for security, welcome committee, tour guides or what, I would have smiled and said thank you and waved and clapped for them. And no, we don’t have to thank every soldier we see, but would it hurt to do it? Aren’t you glad that they’re defending our country and protecting us? Stupid wars or not, what those soldiers do is a good thing. And they need to be appreciated. I know I ain’t gonna do it.

770 days ago
20.

lisaB    

Sure.... I always see secyrity holding cameras and no visible weapons and smiling at me... bunch of prima donnas! No wonder they did not make it into Olympic play....

770 days ago
21.

rosebud    

What a disgrace to disrespect the men and women in uniform, I would be so proud if they were there to show up at anything good I was doing. There's no excuse for rudeness or the rude remarks I am reading here.

770 days ago
22.

fast34me    

The welcoming committee welcomed free tickets and refreshments, I'm sure..... while they're wearing tax payer provided 'everything' and still require coddling... These nipple babies need to be burped.

770 days ago
23.

maria    

It's a disgrace how man of you are not standing up for our soldiers. Not all are on the front line, any in uniform give up their daily lives to keep you, unfortunately some of you as well, safe. You should all be in a uniform for 6 months and then come back and make a educated comment.

770 days ago
24.

I am Spartacus    

Bad job by not letting the team know in advance that they were there expecting to interact with the players. If they didn't know why they were really there i can't get on them for not interacting with them when they're lined up for the players to walk through.

The military people were told one thing, the players were told nothing apparently so i doubt they snubbed them on purpose.

770 days ago
25.

Nikkcolle    

They couldn't tell by the laxed body language? They were relaxed. They should have said thank you either way.

770 days ago
26.

HereN    

The U.S. national team does all kinds of meet-and-greets with American troops. I see videos about that stuff all the time on the US Soccer YouTube channel.

Just last week two Air Force men were named honorary captains for one of our games. And several of our players are the sons of U.S. servicemen.

In other words, these guys understand and respect the military, probably a lot more than most average Americans.

770 days ago
27.

drchale    

Love seeing half-informed comments about the USMNT and their intentions. They were just recently at a military base in Florida and did a meet-and-greet. Several of those soldiers were "honorary captains" for the game in Tampa and got to go on the field during the coin toss.

Many USMNT players are sons of service members (Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson, etc.) so I doubt they don't understand the sacrifice. When entering a hostile location like Guatemala (and for the US team, it always is - see 2008), security is always a concern. Probably a poor job by some PR person, but to say the players dissed them is simply idiotic.

770 days ago
28.

dogboy    

Not to make an excuse, but these guys just had no clue what they were support to, able to, or even thought about doing. If the coaches or management would have something to the team about being an "informal" type greeting and they can communicate with the soldiers, I am sure they would have.

770 days ago
29.

Jim in Cali    

It is kind of bizarre that the soldiers are standing in line like they can't move though.

770 days ago
30.

Jeanne Tutt    

really? seriously? how was the team to know it wasn't a security detail and that they were there to cheer them on? I don't see people clapping and cheering in that photo. I would have taken it exactly as the team had. Your nations troops show up in a foreign country you are in, you too would probably think it was a security detail as well the way they were lined up! wow.

770 days ago
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