Hope Solo, goalkeeper for the U.S. women’s national soccer team, is expected to be fully reinstated to the team this Saturday following a 30-day suspension, according to ESPN. If everything goes as expected, Solo will join the team as they fly to Portugal on Sunday for the Algarve Cup in early March. It is one of the few major events before the World Cup in June.
Solo was suspended after her husband, Jerramy Stevens, was pulled over by police for driving under the influence. The goalkeeper was a passenger in the vehicle but was not detained or arrested. The problem was that Stevens was driving a USSF van, which presented certain liability issues, and that Solo allegedly argued with the officers.
For her part, Solo did not argue the suspension and said that she was going to take this time to “take a break, decompress from the stress of the last several months and come back mentally and physically ready to positively contribute to the team.”
The keeper was also recently charged with two counts of fourth-degree domestic violence assault, but the charges were dropped.
Hope’s career has had no shortage of controversy, although much of the criticism directed against her has been a result of her critical, often blunt and abrasive commentary. During the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, head coach Greg Ryan decided to bench Solo and send in Brianna Scurry instead; the US lost 4-0 against Brazil, and Solo had some irritable post-game statements about the coach’s decision.
“It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There’s no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. And the fact of the matter is it’s not 2004 anymore. It’s not 2004. And it’s 2007, and I think you have to live in the present. And you can’t live by big names. You can’t live in the past. It doesn’t matter what somebody did in an Olympic gold medal game in the Olympics three years ago. Now is what matters, and that’s what I think.”
Her criticism isn’t entirely baseless; Hope is a skilled player with two Olympic gold medals and a Golden Glove award, and currently holds the record for most career shutouts. According to the New York Times, Solo is “considered by many to be the best female keeper in the world.”
She also is not unaware of her public image, but though she has apologized for some of her past conduct, she told CNN in a 2012 interview that she is confident in who she is.
“I have a bad rap. People look at me as selfish, outspoken. But I know who I am… I don’t expect any of the media to be positive. But I know that I’m doing wonderful things for the sport of soccer, and I know I’m doing amazing things for female athletes. So I can take it.”
The only remaining step the goalkeeper has to take is to meet with coach Jill Ellis. She has apparently “abided by the conditions laid out for her by U.S. Soccer,” so it’s expected that her reinstatement will proceed without a hitch. A controversial figure Hope Solo may be, but so far it has not hindered her ability to perform.
[Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]