Hope Solo is Back from ‘Dancing’ with Eyes Set on 2012 Olympics

Hot off her 4th place stint on Dancing With the Stars, Hope Solo hasn’t forgotten how to use her legs for the game of soccer, proving Wednesday that she’s still the consensus No. 1 goalkeeper in the world at BC Place.

Reflecting on her tenure on Stars, Solo said:

“Now you have your everyday citizen knowing who I am,” Solo said. “For the game to grow, it needs to get more mainstream media, and I know ‘Dancing With the Stars’ did just that.”

Dancing With the Stars isn’t the only celebrity attention the soccer starlet has gotten recently – she recently posed nude in ESPN Magazine, an opportunity netted from the U.S. women’s soccer team’s second-place finish at the World Cup in Germany last summer. The sport is still up-and-coming, and Solo is moving to center stage, becoming something of a face for the product.

But will her celebrity status distract from the game?

“I don’t think anybody’s ever questioned my focus,” she said. “Very competitive, very driven.”

But then, there’s the possibility that her stint on Stars got her slightly out of the mind – and body – for soccer.

“Let’s just be honest,” she said. “I stayed in shape, but there’s many things you can do in the offseason to stay in shape. My endurance was good — I wasn’t goalkeeper-fit. I lost some of my muscle strength. It’s just different. I lost some of the intense footwork, so I did have to gain it all back.”

Though her career is hitting stride once more, there is some concern over a shoulder injury that culminated in surgery in 2010.

“My shoulder will always be an issue,” the 30-year-old goalkeeper said. “But I’m getting through it. I look back at the World Cup and I ask myself ‘How in the world did you find a way to play?’ And it’s a testament to the doctors and to obviously my mentality to get back on the field. But I look back and I wonder how it did it because it’s probably 10 times better now than it was just a few months ago.”

With Stars behind her, Solo is looking forward, determined to find herself competing in the 2012 Olympics this summer.

Do you think Hope Solo can lead the U.S. Women’s team to Olympic success this summer?