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Vlatko Andonovski monitoring Spanish national team dispute ahead of friendly

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U.S. women’s national team head coach Vlatko Andonovski confirmed the controversy surrounding the Spanish women’s national team will not affect their friendly on October 11 in Pamplona. 

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Concerns emerged after the Spanish soccer federation claimed 15 members of the team resigned, citing a refusal to play for coach Jorge Vilda. Players have since contradicted the statement, adding they never resigned, but instead asked not to be called up until matters of mental and physical health were addressed. 

“In no case did we resign from the Spanish national team, like the RFEF claims in their official statement. Like we said in our private email, we’ve maintained, continue to maintain and will continue to maintain an unquestionable commitment to the Spanish national team,” said Alexia Putellas. 

“That is why we request in our letter to the RFEF not to be called up to the national team until it remedies the situations that affect our mental and personal wellbeing, our performance, and in consequence, the results of the of the national team that could lead to undesirable injuries. These are the reasons why we’ve made this decision.”

Despite ongoing matters, the USWNT head coach maintains the friendly will be played in the coming week.

“Even though we are monitoring the situation, that means nothing for us in terms of preparation,” Andonovski said. “We are preparing for the best team that Spain can put out there.”

Andonovski added that “higher-ups” will continue to keep him informed about the ongoing dispute. 

“From my side, I don’t really have to do anything except prepare the team in the best possible manner to win this game.”

Several USWNT players have shown their support for the Spanish players, with Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn leading public statements.

“You got a 16th standing with you in [the United States],” Rapinoe wrote in a statement released on social media. “This many players together like this is so powerful. We should all listen.”

“I don’t know the private details, but if 15 of the best players in the world wanted to share feedback I’d respect them enough as people and players to take their concerns seriously,” Sauerbrunn wrote Friday.

Alex Morgan, who will miss the October friendlies due to a knee injury, also showed support.

“This is so hard to watch knowing the federation is throwing their players under the bus for players asking for better protection, treatment, and professionalism,” Morgan tweeted. “Players (the BEST players in Spain) deserve so much better.”

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