Hope Solo's six-month suspension from the USWNT has ended. While Solo now is permitted to try to retake her position, however, there is speculation that Hope's soccer playing days are over.
As previously reported by Inquisitr, Solo was suspended by the U.S. Soccer Federation following the USWNT's loss to Sweden in last year's Olympics. After the match, Hope memorably referred to the Swedish team as "cowards" for their tentative playing style in the game which saw Solo and her teammates failing to even make it to a medal round. The USWNT was expected to take home the gold as they had won the World Cup just the year before with Hope even securing her second Golden Glove award.
Though the "cowards" comment seemed like a relatively harmless infraction by Solo to warrant such an extreme punishment, it was actually a culmination of bad behavior and choices by the goalkeeper that made her slight against Sweden the last straw.
In June of 2014, Hope Solo was arrested for domestic violence, allegedly against her underage nephew. The case has been repeatedly dismissed and reinstated. In January of 2015, Solo was suspended from the USWNT for 30 days following the DUI arrest of her husband Jerramy Stevens. According to USA Today, Stevens had been driving the USWNT van while intoxicated and Hope became belligerent with police officers during his arrest.
At that time, U.S. soccer came under fire from critics who noted that Solo appeared to be getting special treatment because she was a woman and the USWNT was heading into the World Cup. Keeping Hope on the roster following that 30-day suspension proved to be beneficial to the USWNT as they dominated to bring home the world championship.
A year later, as they entered the Olympics with several members of the team having retired such as Shannon Boxx and Abby Wambach, and others out with pregnancies and injuries such as Amy Rodriguez and Megan Rapinoe, the USWNT was counting on solid performances from its other veteran players like Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and Hope Solo. Prior to the team even arriving in Rio, however, Solo was already causing controversy.
Many Brazilians took offense to Hope's mocking of the Zika virus via social media. The virus outbreak, which had prompted doctors to advise female athletes who were considering pregnancy in the near future to stay home from Olympic competition, prompted Hope to share a picture of herself donning protective insect gear. Solo was repeatedly heckled throughout the tournament with the crowd yelling "Zika" any time the keeper went near the ball.
Hope's concentration appeared to be off, in fact, in one of the more embarrassing moments of her career, Solo watched a slow ball roll between her legs and into the net to give Colombia a 1-0 lead. Eventually, the USWNT were able to come back and score, fixing Hope's error but the U.S. was eventually eliminated in the quarterfinals following penalty kicks versus Sweden. Unfortunately, Solo's frustration spilled out of her mouth and insulted the winning team.
Days following her return from Rio, Coach Jill Ellis arrived in person to let Hope know she was not only suspended but her contract was terminated. Solo was being filmed for a docuseries regarding several female players, including Hope, who were suing the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay and gender wage discrimination. In fact, some believe that Solo's role in the lawsuit also played a part in the decision to suspend her.
Hope's emotional reaction to the suspension and contract termination happened to be caught on film, showing a distraught Solo.As previously reported by Inquisitr, following her suspension from the USWNT, Hope chose to step down from her NWSL team as well, leaving many to wonder if Solo would ever step on the pitch again. While Hope's suspension is now over, her future in the sport seems to remain a mystery.
According to Yahoo Sports, Hope Solo chose to have shoulder replacement while on leave. The normal expected recovery time is up to two years. Though Solo is reportedly making progress at a quick pace, Hope has said that she anticipates it will be a year before she is game ready.
On top of recovering from a major surgery, Solo's age may play a factor. Hope is currently 35-years old. She had mentioned during last year's Olympic/Zika fiasco that she and her husband were considering having children and with advanced age in women comes fewer opportunities in the realm of fertility.
And even if Jill Ellis and Solo's teammates once again wanted to give Hope the opportunity to play, it doesn't necessarily mean she would come back as a starter. The roster for the next big USWNT tournament has already been solidified and current goalkeepers Ashlyn Harris and Alyssa Naeher are formidable in the net. Hope's ego more than likely wouldn't allow her to be as gracious as her predecessor Briana Scurry by riding the bench as a backup.
Finally, Hope seems to have moved on to other opportunities. According to Fortune, Solo signed a television deal with INvelop Entertainment to produce and star in a new season of The Cutting Edge, a sports medicine show that follows injured athletes through their recovery process. Hope has experience in the reality television world as a former contestant on Dancing with the Stars.
Though Hope hasn't confirmed she is retired, she did note through social media that she has recently moved to North Carolina so it sounds doubtful she will even return to the Seattle Reign let alone the USWNT.
Real woman (and new NC resident) who provides for herself, and I still appreciate my husband! It's 2017, not 1817. #ActualFacts https://t.co/IOCnW1wDQBThat being said, however, if there is one thing we can expect from Hope Solo, it is to expect the unexpected.
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) February 23, 2017
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[Featured Image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.]