Former USWNT star keeper Hope Solo has thrown her hat into the ring and announced that she’ll be running for president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, for some reason.
Sunil Gulati, who’s been president for 12 years, announced earlier this week that he’d be stepping down. Solo—who ended up generally loathed by her teammates and was unceremoniously dropped from the national team in 2016, after U.S. Soccer suspended her six months for comments about the squad’s loss to Sweden in the Olympics—made her announcement via a Facebook post. Considering her high-profile exit last year, the decision to run for president is, to say the least, unexpected.
Solo used her statement to focus on the need to increase transparency and restructure U.S. Soccer’s finances, particularly to make the game more accessible for talented kids who can’t afford high youth club fees:
This historical, immoral and unconscionable USSF conduct comes at an unacceptable cost: the cost of national pride, the cost of not qualifying for a Men’s World Cup, the cost of not providing the USWNT equal pay and telling the women on the USWNT that they do not deserve to be paid what the men get paid, the cost of actively engaging in gender discrimination, and most glaringly, the cost of overlooking talented young players from diverse socio-economic communities who, if given the opportunity to participate in the system, would develop an enormous, great pool of talent that could eventually populate our USWNT and USMNT’s and lead them to greatness.
Fine ideas all around! Solo is famous enough and she’s got a pair of gold medals. The thing is, Solo is also a famously ornery teammate and her relationship with U.S. Soccer has been tempestuous, to say nothing of her domestic violence case which is somehow still open. She joins an already crowded field alongside Eric Wynalda, Paul Caligiuri, Kyle Martino, Steven Gans, U.S. Soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro, Paul Lapointe, Michael Winograd, and Kathy Carter, most of whom at least do not have an openly antagonistic relationship with U.S. Soccer. It’s not a perfect analog, but Solo leading U.S. Soccer would be roughly akin to Lance Armstrong running cycling, which—who knows?—would not exactly be the worst possible idea.