Hope Solo says there's no turning back

In her first interview since being handed a six-month suspension from the U.S.women's national team, Hope Solo told Anne M. Peterson of the Associated Press that she would do almost anything to return to the national team.

“I say almost," Solo told Peterson, "because at this point in time I believe our fight for equality is much bigger than being on the national team again.”

Solo said she believed she was fired to get "rid of an adversary in the fight for equal pay” and was "used as an example," her firing instilling fear in her teammates.

“There’s no turning back for me,” she said. “I think with some of the players there are different intentions -- because they want to play the game that they love. It’s easier for me to fight and put everything into it than it is for them.”

The U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association's collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Soccer expires on Dec. 31. Federation representatives and players met in November to negotiate and got together again this month in search of a resolution. Solo was one of five players named in a complaint submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for wage discrimination.

Expiration of the collective bargaining agreement permits the players to strike and U.S. Soccer to lock them out of training camps and games. The players could also agree with the federation to resume training under the terms of the current agreement while negotiations continue.

The first major event for the USA will be the second SheBelieves Cup at the beginning of March against England, France and Germany. A new CBA would likely encompass participation in the 2017 NWSL, which is expected to begin in April.

Solo, 35, helped the USA win Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012 and the 2015 Women's World Cup. She recorded 103 shutouts in 202 international matches, making her the greatest women's goalkeeper of all time.

But off-the-field issues got her in trouble with U.S. Soccer one too many times.

She was suspended for the third-place game against Norway at the 2007 Women's World Cup after blasting head coach Greg Ryan for dropping her in favor of Briana Scurry, the hero of the 1999 Women's World Cup triumph, for the semifinals. The USA lost to Brazil, 4-0.

She was arrested in June 2014 on two charges of fourth-degree domestic violence assault for allegedly striking her half-sister, Teresa L. Obert, and Obert's son in an early-morning altercation. The case was first dismissed and later reinstated as appeals continued over procedural issues related to the lack of cooperation of Obert and Obert's son.

U.S. Soccer suspended Solo for 30 days in early 2015 following the DUI arrest of her husband Jerramy Stevens. Stevens and Solo had taken a team van at training camp in California -- players often used the vans for outings and to run errands -- and Solo was with Stevens when he was pulled over.

The last straw was when she said the USA "played a bunch of cowards," after it was ousted by Sweden in a shootout from the Rio Olympics. U.S. coach Jill Ellis and U.S. Soccer general secretary Dan Flynn flew to Seattle to inform Solo of U.S. Soccer's decision to suspend her and terminate her national team contract.

"Taking into consideration the past incidents involving Hope, as well as the private conversations we've had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a U.S. national team member," U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said, "U.S. Soccer determined this is the appropriate disciplinary action."

31 comments about "Hope Solo says there's no turning back".
  1. Allan Lindh, December 23, 2016 at 5:26 p.m.

    So she ain't no angel. She may still be the best GK in the world, maybe best all time?? And has more guts than a bandit. I miss her on the USWNT and I suspect I'm not the only one. Merry Christmas Hope -- stay sober.

  2. Chance Hall, December 23, 2016 at 5:32 p.m.

    Well, here we go again. US Soccer looking to make Hope a scape goat again. I just can't believe how this is playing out. Despite her personal life, she is probably the best female goalkeeper in the world today. And better than a lot of men. Male athletes have gotten away with a lot more (NBA/ NFL/MLB, etc.)and are still playing. I like Jill, but I'm very disappointed with how she handled Hope and threw her under the bus. To me, and most of the United States, taking a knee for our anthem is faaar worse that that. But what has Jill and US Soccer done about that? Nothing! What cowards. I'm still a US Soccer fan, but I sure hope Jill and US Soccer get their act together. Any player (male or female) who disrespects this country, our flag, and our anthem should be kicked off the team - immediately!!!

  3. Allan Lindh replied, December 23, 2016 at 8:57 p.m.

    Sorry, First Amendment applies to kneeling also. Bet you didn't know that playing the Anthem before games was only instituted during WWII to support the troops, and afterwards they just continued it, part of our Endless War/Military-Industrial-Complex/NFL consortium's plan to completely take over the country. And the third verse really does celebrate the death of slaves, who were fighting for their freedom in the War of 1812. Megan's just the only one with the guts to stand up to The Man.

  4. Ray Shines replied, December 24, 2016 at 10:27 a.m.

    No, they started playing the Anthem before games during World War I, not World War II, and it was not to "support the troops."

  5. cisco martinez, December 23, 2016 at 5:38 p.m.

    In my humble opinion, it is unfortunate that in this country, US soccer, specifically Sunil Gulati, decided to censor the freedom of speech of Hope Solo. Solo along with other women on the national team has brought to attention equal pay for women, freedom of speech against the mafia of US soccer, and does anyone really care about Hope Solo's personal life? Solo is a true advocate to truth to power and IS a role model for young women that want to be different in our soccer community.

  6. don Lamb replied, December 24, 2016 at 2:48 p.m.

    Great player. Role model? Hell no! USSF suspended her for an accumulation of incidents. It should have been done sooner, but there was no "convenient" time, which is an indictment on them as well. There are others involved in the lawsuit and they are not being punished, so you can't say that she is being pushed out because of that.

  7. charles davenport, December 23, 2016 at 5:48 p.m.

    Obert's son? only
    6'4"? 6'5"? Of course he wouldn't stand much of a chance against Hope.

  8. Allan Lindh replied, December 23, 2016 at 8:52 p.m.

    Ya, and he weighs over 300lb. Looks like an NFL lineman. Pathetic court case, they should be ashamed. If they'd prosecuted everyone who slapped up a nephew in town I grew up in, half the town would have been in jail.

  9. uffe gustafsson, December 23, 2016 at 8:04 p.m.

    I have a suggestion for hope solo, tell the press you found Jesus and all will be good. Is that what numerous players done before and then everyone loves you. Not seen in it soccer but in all other US sports. But you bet it will work.
    Just saying.

  10. Chris St. Hilaire, December 23, 2016 at 9:26 p.m.

    You all are ridiculous and likely never played team sports. Talent is just part of the equation for winners. there's also decency. She's a lousy teammate and a lousy person and deserves to be exactly where she is -- sidelined.

  11. Mike Calcaterra, December 23, 2016 at 10:50 p.m.

    Chris St. Hilaire: Talent is 90% of the equation, 9% drive to succeed and at most 1% being a swell team mate. Hope is a fierce competitor: fierce with her team mates on the field and fiercer with her opponents. If she was such a wild card, would she be negotiating on her teammates behalf. I hope she kicks US Soccers cheap asses and I am sad I will no longer get to see her play. Along with Michele Akers and Mia Hamm, Hope brought a certain quality and desire to the team that made them the best. Also, I was a fan of Bbriana, but she is nowhere close to Hope. Stay tough, stay true, you will be a soccer hero for many years.

  12. don Lamb replied, December 24, 2016 at 2:52 p.m.

    Sad that people will dismiss Hope's transgressions just because she is a great player. Ray Rice would still be cheered today if he were still one of the top running backs in the league. Fandom is a horrible thing sometimes.

  13. Karl Schreiber, December 24, 2016 at 12:50 a.m.

    Idealism in pro soccer? Let's be realistic! -- Come on, Hope. Why bother if USSF wants to "play games"? Enjoy a couple of years at PSG or such. It's all about marketing the brand!!! "Hope Solo" is Still (underlined) a good brand.

  14. don Lamb replied, December 24, 2016 at 2:54 p.m.

    A good brand? She is at the very least tarnished due to things like her legal issues, family issues, on-field issues, nude photos online... Great player, but she is a train wreck and the number of fans that look the other way about this stuff is crazy.

  15. Chris St. Hilaire, December 24, 2016 at 3:11 a.m.

    The only ones that like her less than me are her teammates. You all love to find reasons to criticize everything and everyone in US soccer. Leading from behind and critiquing from the sidelines is easy. That seems to be what you excel at.

  16. don Lamb replied, December 24, 2016 at 2:59 p.m.

    Apparently her fans are willing to look past anything. The people who know her best as a player clearly lost respect for her a long time ago. The final straw has been pulled with her reaction to the Sweden loss. This combined with her age and the fact that she is simply at the end of the line in terms of being at the top of her game mean that it's over for Hope.

  17. Ray Shines, December 24, 2016 at 10:28 a.m.

    Surprising they didn't get rid of the other four players named in the complaint.

    Oh, wait. The other four players aren't train wrecks who embarrass the shield.

    Hope Solo lives in her own reality. Always has. Seemingly always will.

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, December 24, 2016 at 11:09 a.m.

    You lack perspective. What Solo has done off the field is nothing. It is not even interesting gossip. The only reason it makes the news is because it is Hope Solo and people set a higher standard for her then they do for themselves. Let someone who has never had a family argument or never drank too much criticize her. It would be a very short list.

  19. Bob Ashpole replied, December 24, 2016 at 11:23 a.m.

    Here is some perspective, pay discrimination based on gender is a civil rights violation and if intentional may be a federal felony, e.g., Title 18, sec. 241, Conspiracy Against Rights. It would be a first if someone were prosecuted under that law for pay discrimination, but that doesn't mean civil rights violations of all kinds are not serious if they occurred.

  20. don Lamb replied, December 24, 2016 at 3:06 p.m.

    Bob - Saying that what Hope has done off the field is "nothing" is blindly dismissive of her true character. It's alarming how fans root for their heroes despite the type of person and teammate that they are. And there is no pay discrimination. The women are being paid exactly what they negotiated for. You also cannot look past the fact that USSF subsidizes their league and pays their salaries while the men have to compete in an intense global market for their salaries.

  21. Bob Ashpole replied, December 24, 2016 at 3:40 p.m.

    Don, I am not a fan nor blind. Every victim of pay discrimination has accepted employment and at least tacitly agreed to the unfair wages. If I remember the press reports correctly, Hope's nephew was using a weapon in addition to being twice Solo's size. The latest press reports indicate that the relatives are not cooperating with the prosecution. I am offering no opinion beyond being dismissive of the allegations against Hope.

  22. don Lamb replied, December 24, 2016 at 7:11 p.m.

    This incident with her nephew is not the only legal issue that she has been involved in. And she has had many, many issues outside of the legal realm as well. My only issue is that USSF did this at a time that was convenient for them instead of taking action based solely on principle. Two things about the women's contracts that they negotiated... 1 - They decided that they wanted annual salaries, which was agreed upon. 2 - They would not have a domestic league to play in if not for USSF subsidies (two previous leagues have failed). For them to now claim that their salaries are not enough and to claim that USSF is not supporting their side of the coin as compared to the men is suspect given these two facts.

  23. John Soares, December 24, 2016 at 3:19 p.m.

    It is "nothing" compared to what some major "male" stars have done in both soccer and other sports. If calling another team coward or worse was reason to, not simply be suspended but have your contract cancel. How many "guys" would be fired. Rolling it(history)all up to one, including issues that she was punished for is simply wrong. Not a saint!? Not by a long shot. Is she being treated fair. Not by a longer shot.

  24. don Lamb replied, December 24, 2016 at 7:14 p.m.

    What would "fair treatment" be for a player who has been a consistent threat to team chemistry and to the overall public image of the program? She has been given an extremely long leash and has asked for the suspension that she was given. In my opinion, she is lucky she was punished more severely earlier in her career.

  25. don Lamb replied, December 24, 2016 at 9:25 p.m.

    Jen - Are you pretending like men haven't been punished for off-field incidents? Did you notice the exile that Richie Incognito received? Or the Ray Rice incident. Or the current Mixon incident. Hope's suspension is right in line with a lot of others in professional sports -- not just the NFL ones that I used. I do agree that the timing of this move is suspicious, but it ultimately appears to be much more a matter of skill and long term planning than it is a matter of gender. Hope is 35 and this is the time that the team will need to find their next keeper. If Hope were a great leader who could help groom that keeper, I'm sure they'd be happy to keep her under contract for a few more years.

  26. don Lamb replied, December 25, 2016 at 7:14 p.m.

    Well, the fact is that all of those examples (mine and yours) are all irrelevant. Hope has had a long line of issues going back several years, US Soccer is well within their rights to show her the door. Would you keep someone around who was a detriment to your organization (and not just you, but everyone in the organization felt that way) and who is also past their peak in terms of performance?

  27. Chris St. Hilaire, December 25, 2016 at 11:40 a.m.

    Don, you're right. Further, this group seems to be intent on blaming US Soccer for some pay disparity, driven by the fact that a Women's league cannot support itself financially. This is basic business. It's great to watch our women outperform other nations, but the reality is that in most other countries, women's soccer is just a blip on a radar, which is why so many American born women play on other international squads. Sport salaries are driven by free markets and not some liberal utopian view of equality irrespective of the economic realities.

  28. Bob Ashpole replied, December 26, 2016 at 4:11 a.m.

    Chris, you apparently didn't comprehend what I wrote. I merely explained the relative seriousness of pay discrimination allegations. I did not blame anyone for anything or even offer any opinion regarding the truth of any allegations against either Solo or the USSF were true. I am not interested in debating with you about actual events of which I have no knowledge and I suspect you don't either.

  29. Philip Carragher, December 26, 2016 at 5:55 p.m.

    I'm puzzled by what seems to be extreme reactions to comments and gestures by Hope Solo but I'll get to that momentarily. First, athletes like Solo who have more natural horsepower than others tend to be more emotional and expressive especially in combative situations. That extra HP gives them something extra to draw upon when needed and helps them rise to the top of their sports; unfortunately, it can also get them to react in ways that make others uncomfortable. It behooves us to attempt to give these athletes at least a little room for outbursts and less-genteel comments so they can continue to utilize this gift that tends to make others uncomfortable. I'm reading transcripts of what Solo said post-olympic loss, "they played like cowards";? How bad is that really? Unless I'm missing something, this isn't that bad...unfortunate for sure since the backlash has been severe, but, someone please explain to me how this comment is really that bad.? I know I've been peeved when the lesser-team parks-the-bus and slows the game into disjointed and unattractive soccer. She is merely expressing something most of us soccer aficionados have thought when frustrated by this type of game. Too bad she said so in this forum. Also, her Zika demonstration/tweet...that bad? I don't know, did the Brazilians find it insensitive? Maybe that's it, I don't know. And I can't blame them for it offending them if it did, but, again, was it really that bad? Please enlighten me because, from my perspective, this is an athlete with mucho-HP simply not playing it safe-enough in the press but doesn't warrant a dismissal. The punishment doesn't fit the crime (if it even rises to the level of being a crime).

  30. don Lamb replied, December 26, 2016 at 7:54 p.m.

    You are absolutely correct that her quote was "not that bad." However, it was another of a LONG list of things that made US Soccer look bad. She had, no doubt, received many warnings, and the most telling sign is that her teammates have never been quick to defend her. The punishment does not fit the crime if you are only considering this "crime," but if you consider her "body of work," it starts to make sense. Then factor in that she is past her prime, and this is the natural time for the team to find their keeper for the future, and you can begin to understand the reasoning here. Like I said above: If she were a good leader capable of helping to groom the next keeper that would be ideal, but she has shown over and over that she is not capable of this type of role.

  31. aaron dutch, December 29, 2016 at 4:09 p.m.

    US Soccer does enough to look lame all by themselves vs. Hope Solo, U.S. Soccer is the worst run major sports program on earth. Compare them to any other team, league, federation etc.. If you compare what we spend, scale we have, and what we get its horrible. The other big/HUGE countries are pretty lame on the list but no where close to the US given the hardcore base of 10 million fans & casual 20-30 million fans plus the 10's millions of kids who have played basic soccer and the millions who have played club & 100,000's who have played college/national teams/top clubs/semi-pro/pros. with that base to work from and the billions a year we flush down the soccer industrial complex U.S. Soccer is truly lame.

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