The New Exchange

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

8/25/2016 9:31 am  #1

U.S. Soccer Suspends Hope Solo and Terminates Her Contract

U.S. Soccer Suspends Hope Solo and Terminates Her Contract

U.S. Soccer terminated the contract of goalkeeper Hope Solo on Wednesday for what it called “conduct that is counter to the organization’s principles.” The federation also said it had suspended Solo from the women’s national team for six months, but in ending her contract, it sent a strong signal that Solo — who has balanced on-field excellence with off-field controversy for more than a decade — might have played her last game for the United States.

The suspension was a direct result of critical comments Solo, 35, made after the United States was eliminated by Sweden in the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics on Aug. 12. After the loss in a penalty-kick shootout, which sent the Americans home from the Games without a medal for the first time, Solo responded by assailing the Swedes’ conservative tactics and calling them “a bunch of cowards” for not going toe to toe with the more talented American team.

The comments were widely criticized as unsportsmanlike — Solo’s teammate Megan Rapinoe said in an interview with NBC later in the Games that she was “really disappointed” by the remarks — but they also were merely the latest embarrassing episode involving Solo, who was arrested in 2014 on charges of assaulting two family members and served a 30-day ban last year after her husband was arrested on drunken-driving charges while he and Solo were in a borrowed team van.

“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,” U.S. Soccer’s president, Sunil Gulati, said in a statement.

Solo has been the starting goalkeeper for the United States since 2005 and its preferred starter in three straight World Cups and the three most recent Olympic tournaments. She has made more than 200 appearances for the team, and while her play on the field has been exceptional at times — she was voted the outstanding goalkeeper of the past two World Cups — she has caused public relations problems for herself and for U.S. Soccer away from the field.

In 2007, she was ostracized by the national team for several months after ripping its coach at the time, Greg Ryan, for starting her backup in a World Cup semifinal that the Americans lost, 4-0. At the 2012 Olympics, she took to Twitter to publicly criticize the former player Brandi Chastain, who was calling the team’s games for NBC. Then came Solo’s arrest on domestic violence charges and the van episode with her husband last year.

But with no American goalkeeper playing well enough to supplant Solo as the starter over the past decade, her coaches and U.S. Soccer have weathered each storm and continued to send Solo back into the net.

Solo, in a statement released by her publicist, said she was “saddened” by U.S. Soccer’s decision to terminate her contract.

“I could not be the player I am without being the person I am, even when I haven’t made the best choices or said the right things,” Solo said. “My entire career, I have only wanted the best for this team, for the players and the women’s game and I will continue to pursue these causes with the same unrelenting passion with which I play the game.”United States Coach Jill Ellis and the federation’s chief executive, Dan Flynn, informed Solo of her suspension in person on Wednesday in Seattle. The six-month ban applies only to the national team, which currently has only two matches scheduled before the suspension expires in February 2017.

With the team regrouping after a two-year Women’s World Cup and Olympic cycle, dropping Solo even temporarily could have been a signal that the team was beginning its transition to a new goalkeeper. But in effectively firing her as an employee of the federation, U.S. Soccer seemed to confirm its intention to part ways with Solo for good.

Solo is widely considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and she is one of the most decorated players in U.S. Soccer history — a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the starter when the Americans won the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Her appearance against Sweden at the Olympics was her 202nd for the United States — ranking her 10th all time — and she posted shutouts in 102 of those games.

Rich Nichols, the general counsel for the women’s national team’s players’ association, called Solo’s suspension “excessive, unprecedented, disproportionate, and a violation of Ms. Solo’s First Amendment rights.”

“She was fired for making comments that a man never would have been fired for,” he said.

Solo will receive three months of severance pay after the termination of her contract, but Nichols said Wednesday night that he would file a grievance on her behalf on Thursday morning.

In the meantime, Ellis will have no choice but to find a new starter. Alyssa Naeher, 27, who served as Solo’s backup at the Olympics, and Ashlyn Harris, 30, who was on last summer’s World Cup roster, would be the most obvious choices as the team tries to remake itself ahead of its next major international tournament, the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. Solo will be 38 that summer.

We live in a time in which decent and otherwise sensible people are surrendering too easily to the hectoring of morons or extremists. 

8/25/2016 11:21 am  #2

Re: U.S. Soccer Suspends Hope Solo and Terminates Her Contract

"Do not confuse motion and progress, A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress"

8/25/2016 12:31 pm  #3

Re: U.S. Soccer Suspends Hope Solo and Terminates Her Contract

It seemed a little severe in terms of punishment.
But, I think that it was kind of a straw that broke the camel's back thing. The inside story hints that several of Solo's own teammates didn't want to play with her again.

We live in a time in which decent and otherwise sensible people are surrendering too easily to the hectoring of morons or extremists. 
     Thread Starter

Board footera


Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum