June 19, 2024

‘This is very serious’: USWNT defender Crystal Dunn on Auckland shooting | USA women’s soccer team

US women’s national team defender Crystal Dunn has said players had to “share everything” on Thursday after a central Auckland shooting left three dead, including the gunman, just blocks from the team’s hotel.

“This is true,” Dunn said. “We offer our condolences to the families of the victims. Everyone handles these situations differently so it’s important to give people the space they need to work through, of course, the trauma that happened today. But just understand that we are a united team and that we give people the space they need. Hopefully today we can go on the pitch and just have a kick and try to be tied again on a tough day.”

The USA players were getting ready to eat breakfast at their team hotel when the incident happened around 7.30am local time. Staff security immediately contacted local authorities and the state department and determined that everyone was safe, a staff spokesman said. Team training was slightly delayed due to the incident.

There were hotels that hosted several World Cup teams in the immediate vicinity of the incident. The Norwegian and Philippine squads were within one city block of the incident. Spokesmen for both teams said all members of their respective delegations were safe.

“Unfortunately, I think in the US. We’ve dealt with this far too many times,” said US congressman Lynn Williams, “but we were definitely able to come together. We still have a job to do, but also recognizing that people have been lost and that is real and very difficult. So, we were thankful that we were safe, that the first responders came, and that everything was very quick. “

The World Cup opener between New Zealand and Norway went ahead as planned, with what authorities said would be increased security. Around Eden Park, the venue for Thursday’s first game, everything seemed to carry on as normal in the hours leading up to the game.

Dunn said her son, who was born to her in May 2022, was in transit to the hotel at the time of the incident but was not in the immediate vicinity.

Players often like to walk around the local area in the little free time they have during the day after training. The night before the incident, the USA players could be seen in the surrounding blocks, the Philippines players were meeting family and friends in their hotel and the Italian players went shopping for souvenirs.

A US Soccer spokesperson said players will be able to continue with the time off as normal. The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Chris Hipkins, said after the shooting that there is no threat to national security.

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“It’s pretty much understood that he’s been cleared,” Dunn said. “We have a path out of the hotel if we want to go see the family. Of course, I’m thinking: ‘Can I go see my son? Can I see my husband?’ And I think we got the permission that everything is fine.

“But at the end of the day, we are USA. We know we have to be smart every time we step out of the hotel. People notice us and it’s really cool, but it also comes with a responsibility to be smart about everything you do.”

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