USOC complaint: Hope Solo takes on U.S. Soccer again

Former U.S. national team goalkeeper Hope Solo, one of eight candidates for U.S. Soccer president, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Olympic Committee against the federation.

Solo, who is also a party to an EEOC complaint  against U.S. Soccer for wage discrimination, contends that U.S. Soccer is in violation of USOC by-laws and provisions of the Stevens Act, which governs national governing bodies like U.S. Soccer.

Complaint. The specific violations by U.S. Soccer in her complaint:

-- Failing to be responsible to the persons and amateur sports organizations it represents;
-- Failing to conduct itself and make decisions independently from outside sources;
-- Failing to provide reasonable direct representation on its board of directors;
-- Failing to be financially and operationally transparent and accountable to its members and to the corporation;
-- Failing to provide equitable support and encouragement for participation by women where separate programs for male and female athletes are conducted on a national basis; and
-- Failing to encourage and support amateur athletic sports programs for individuals with ambulatory cerebral palsy, stroke or traumatic brain injury.

Request for relief. She seeks to have U.S. Soccer placed on probation for 180 days while it takes actions to correct whatever faults are deemed to have caused the violations.

Claim of bias. Much of case centers on Solo's claim of U.S. Soccer bias in favor of MLS, which she blames on going president Sunil Gulati remaining "intensely loyal to the MLS" and the agreement U.S. Soccer has with SUM.

Solo, suspended by U.S. Soccer for six months following the 2016 Olympics, charges conflicted officers and directors and their misplaced priorities led to a failure of player development and that failure, in turn, led to the "listless" men's national team failing to qualify for the World Cup.

The complaint includes a laundry list of issues related to American soccer, from pay-to-play to Jonathan Gonzalez's switch of association and the Boston Breakers' demise, and raised by candidates in the presidential campaign. Solo was a last-minute entrant into the race for president and is considered to have little chance of winning.

Remedies hurdle. Much of her complaint addressed issues related to the exhaustion of her remedies in her bid to go straight to the USOC. Typically, a court or governing body won't want to hear a case if the claimant hasn't used all avenues available to it -- which is why courts rarely hear sports disputes.

She claims U.S. Soccer's provision to take a case like hers to the American Arbitration Association is in violation of the Stevens Act's provisions for resolving remedies, and in any event, she claims the AAA could not make a decision without unnecessary delay.
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