Hope Solo: ‘I Almost Lost My Career’ Over Domestic Violence Incident

Hope Solo opened up recently about the domestic violence incident that nearly derailed her career, saying it was an embarrassing thing that she’s working hard to overcome.

Solo, a two-time gold medalist for the U.S. women’s soccer team, says she was accused of violence against her 17-year old nephew last June, and since her sister went public with the story, Hope has been painted not as the fierce athlete she’s always been, but as someone who hurt a child. The accusations, she says, are false, but the arrest and subsequent media coverage have been damaging.

“It’s been a painful year. I almost lost my career. It’s been traumatic and embarrassing. I wish my name was cleared. But people still believe I was involved with domestic violence and that I hit a child. And I’ve had to accept that there’s nothing I can do to change people’s opinion of me,” Solo said.

Hope has continued to play with the women’s team as they move closer to the World Cup–something which has drawn the ire of Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who has requested that the soccer federation do a thorough investigation of Solo before it’s determined that she will be allowed to continue playing for the U.S.

Solo allegedly became involved in the violent incident at her sister’s home, where police were told Hope had punched her nephew in the face repeatedly and attacked his mother, Teresa Obert. Her nephew told officials that he broke a broom over Hope’s head to get him away from his mother; the confrontation reportedly began when Hope called him “fat and un-athletic.” However, Solo maintains that she was wrongfully arrested.

Hope Solo told People that she has always relied on soccer to get away from the overwhelming stresses of life, starting when she was young and living with her mother, who battled an alcohol addiction. But around the time of the domestic violence arrest, she was suspended from the team for a month after her husband was arrested on suspicion of a DUI with her in the passenger seat. The suspension came after Coach Jill Ellis said Solo made “a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. soccer and her teammates.”

Recently, Coach Ellis commented on the athlete’s rocky couple of years, saying, “Hope’s been fantastic and we’ve moved on.”

[(Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images]