Hope Solo gets six-month USNWT suspension
Solo called Sweden team "bunch of cowards"
Goalkeeper "saddened" by decision
Hope Solo has hit back at the United States Soccer Federation’s decision to sanction her for controversial comments made at the Rio Olympics, saying she is “saddened” but will continue to play with the “same unrelenting passion.”
The USSF announced late Wednesday that it had suspended the veteran US goalkeeper for six months after she described Swedish players as “a bunch of cowards” for what she viewed as their defensive tactics.
The 35-year-old made the comments in question after the Swedes defeated the US on penalties following a closely fought 1-1 tie at the quarterfinal stage of the Rio tournament.
The suspension is Solo’s second in two years. She was previously banned for 30 days in January 2015 for alleged indiscipline at a USNWT training camp.
“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,” read a statement from US 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 US National Team member, US Soccer determined this is the appropriate disciplinary action.”
Solo, who will now not be available for national selection until February 2017, responded by posting with her own statement, saying she was “saddened by the Federation’s decision to terminate my contract.”
“I could not be the player I am without being the person I am, even if I haven’t made the right choices or said the right things.”
“My entire career I have only wanted the best for this team, for the players and for the women’s game and I will continue to pursue these causes with the same unrelenting passion with which I play the game.”
Despite defeat in Rio, Solo is a two-time Olympic champion, having picked up gold at the 2008 and 2012 Games in Beijing and London respectively.
She is also a World Cup winner, keeping goal for the USNWT during its successful 2015 campaign in Canada, and holds the USWNT record for most shutouts.
However, controversy has not been uncommon over the course of her career.
Fans at the Rio Olympics booed her after she posted pictures of herself on social media wearing a mosquito net alongside the words “#zikaproof” back in July.
Solo was cleared of an alleged domestic assault charge in 2015 while she was warned by the US Anti-Doping Agency in 2012 after she tested positive for a banned diuretic – a substance she claimed she didn’t know was in premenstrual medication prescribed by her physician.
Speaking to CNN in 2013, Solo spoke about perceptions of public image. “I have a bad rap,” she said. “People look at me as selfish, outspoken. But I know who I am.”
The latest sporting suspension will not prevent Solo representing her Seattle Reign club side over the coming months.