Hope Solo Team USA suspension about more than just her Olympics outburst

The 35-year-old goalkeeper has been at the centre of way too many negative headlines.

Hands Solo Image US Soccer

United States goalkeeper and women’s football star Hope Solo has been hit with a six-month suspension by US Soccer, for comments made in the wake of the team’s exit to Sweden on penalties at the Rio Olympics – but, in truth, that is only the tip of the iceberg.

In the wake of Team USA’s 5-4 defeat on penalties, following a 1-1 draw, Solo described the Sweden side as a “bunch of cowards” in comments deemed “unacceptable” by US Soccer president Sunil Gulati.

“I’m very proud of this team,” Solo told the BBC at the time. “But I also think we played a bunch of cowards. They didn’t want to open the game.

“They tried to counter with long balls. I don’t think they’re going to make it far in the tournament. I think it was very cowardly. They’re moving on and we’re going home.”

Now ineligible for selection until February, this new development is, unfortunately, just the latest in a series of increasingly negative stories involving Solo.

During the build-up to the Olympic Games in Rio, the 35-year-old attracted the ire of thousands on social media after posting a series of tweets appearing to poke fun at the crisis surrounding the spread of the Zika virus in the South American country.

Pictured alongside the hashtag ‪#zikaproof, Solo later refused to apologise for her exaggerated response, telling the Associated Press that her tweets were the result of extensive research into the virus.

“I actually spoke to three different infectious disease doctors and specialists,” she explained at the time, steadfastly refusing to retract any of her comments on Twitter.

It was not the first time she had courted trouble either.

Prior to this, Solo had also been suspended for 30 days following an incident at a Team USA training camp held back in January 2015.

According to reports at the time, Solo was found by police in a car alongside husband Jerramy Stevens, who was subsequently arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Though not cited in the incident, US head coach Jill Ellis felt Solo had made “a poor decision” that had a “negative impact on US Soccer and her teammates.”

Solo’s relationship with Stevens, meanwhile, remains the subject of intense press scrutiny, after domestic violence charges were levelled at, and later dropped, against the goalkeeper.

Writing on her Facebook page, Solo said she was “saddened” at US Soccer’s decision to hit her with a six-month suspension, in a move that has left her international career hanging in the balance.

Hope Solo Facebook statement
Hope Solo/Facebook Image Hope Solo/Facebook

“I could not be the player I am without being the person I am, even when I haven’t made the best choices or said the right things,” she said.

Solo is the current holder of several US goalkeeper records including recording appearances, clean sheets and consecutive minutes played.

She also holds the record as part of the longest undefeated streak in the history of the women’s team, having previously gone 55 games without defeat. Whether she gets a chance to better any of those records, remains to be seen.

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