More than 70 percent of US Soccer governing body members voted to remove the policy requiring players to “respectfully stand” during the song. About 30 percent voted to keep the policy in place.
“We know this is a very divisive issue within our country and around the world,” US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone told reporters.
“So it didn’t surprise me that our membership wasn’t 100 percent one way or another.”
The United States women’s national team formed a group during the anthem before their SheBelieves Cup game on February 21 after some knelt in the first tournament on February 18.
The team members said they had passed the protest phase of the anthem debate, but are still committed to fighting to end systemic racism.
National Football League player Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to protest racial injustice. Other players joined him until the team owners banned the practice. That policy was reversed in 2020 during a wave of national protests over racism and police brutality after George Floyd’s death in May.
That board vote required confirmation from US Soccer’s broader governing body, which it received on Saturday.