Women's World Cup 2019: USWNT stars say golf clap celebrations were 'statement' to their critics

The United States Women's National Team drew a lot of heat for celebrating goals late in a historic 13-0 destruction of Thailand to start 2019 Women's World Cup play last week. The Americans were noticeably reserved during Sunday's 3-0 shutout of Chile. According to Carli Lloyd and other USWNT players, there was a reason for that.

As told to The Washington Post after the team clinched a spot in the round of 16, the players purposely used contained golf-clap celebrations vs. Chile in an effort to poke fun at those who railed against their exuberance.

"(Lindsey Horan) had told me if we score, that's what we're going to do, so I just went along with it after I did my little celebration, but it was fun," Lloyd said. "I think it made a statement on the sideline there. It was cool."

You can see Lloyd breaking out the golf clap at the 20-second mark of this highlight:

Alex Morgan, who scored five goals in USWNT's opening drubbing of Thailand, echoed the sentiment of her teammate.

"The whole team is having fun with this," she said, per Seth Vertelney.

Horan, meanwhile, credited teammate Emily Sonnett with the idea to tone down celebrations as a way of throwing shade at their critics.

"We decided to do something different today," she said, according to The Post. "Handshakes were part of it. Golf clap was part of it."

It remains to be seen if the women will carry the golf clap into other matches. After their 13-0 victory over Thailand, the Americans notably received criticism from, ex-Canadian World Cup playerstheir very own former longtime goalie, Hope Solo, and others for going "overboard" with celebrations. Megan Rapinoe was among those on the team to publicly defend the women's "explosion of joy," with Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, husband to USWNT's Julie Ertz, also supporting the celebrations.

The U.S. faces Sweden on Thursday with first place in Group F on the line. The game can be streamed on fuboTV (try for free).

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