U.S. soccer players must stand for national anthem

(The Sports Xchange) - The United States Soccer Federation has instituted a policy that requires players on a national team to "stand respectfully" during national anthems, the New York Times and other media reported on Saturday.

The policy was reportedly passed by the federation's board of directors on Feb. 9 but came to light Saturday.

The policy, posted on Twitter by former men's national team player Stuart Holden, reads: "All persons representing a Federation national team shall stand respectfully during the playing of the national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented."

U.S. Soccer director of communications Neil Buethe confirmed the policy in an email to The New York Times.

The policy comes after U.S. national player Megan Rapinoe knelt during the anthem on two occasions last year -- once while representing the national team and the other time while playing for the Seattle Reign of the National Women's Soccer League.

(Editing by Andrew Both)