After the USWNT got bounced from the Olympics by lowly Sweden, Hope Solo was not happy. She voiced her acute displeasure with the loss shortly after the game was over, calling the Swedes “a bunch of cowards” and saying “the better team did not win today.” USWNT veteran Megan Rapinoe recently said she was disappointed in Solo, and U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati called Solo’s comments “highly inappropriate.”
U.S. Soccer announced this evening that Solo will be suspended from the team for six months. Here’s their statement:
U.S. Soccer has suspended goalkeeper Hope Solo from the U.S. Women’s National Team for six months for conduct that is counter to the organization’s principles.
The suspension for Solo, who was previously suspended for 30 days early in 2015 for her conduct, is effective immediately.
“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.
“Taking into consideration the past incidents involving Hope, as well as the private conversations we’ve had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a U.S. National Team member, U.S. Soccer determined this is the appropriate disciplinary action.”
As a result of the suspension, Solo would not be eligible for selection to the U.S. Women’s National Team until February of 2017.
Since her comments made minor waves without really creating a sustained controversy, this decision feels like it was motivated by internal frustration. The USWNT’s next major tournament isn’t until 2019, when Solo will be 38, so this could very well be U.S. Soccer quickly getting a fresh start. Grant Wahl reports that Solo’s national team contract has been terminated.
According to the lawsuit that the USWNT filed against U.S. Soccer, Solo was due to make $72,000 this year for being a Tier 1 national team player, so the contract termination presumably costs her $36,000. She can still play for the NWSL’s Seattle Reign, but her $56,000 NWSL salary is also paid for by U.S. Soccer, and it is unclear if they have to continue doing so now that her contract has been terminated.
Hope Solo has responded to the suspension:
The USWNT Players’ Association called the suspension a violation of her First Amendment rights:
Whether or not Solo’s appeal works, it seems that the USWNT doesn’t want her around anymore.