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Hope Solo

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BackgroundEdit

Hope Solo goalie box

Photo from Beijing 2008 Olympics. Hope Solo was the winning goalie. She and the United States (also known as USA) Flag of the United States team was able to shut out Brazil (also known as BRA) Flag of Brazil by the score of 1-0. Photo from Mark Rauterkus.

InsightsEdit

  • profile of Solo Hope Solo is U.S. goalie once again - 07/17/08 - If you truly expect to realize your dreams, abandon the need for blanket approval. If conforming to everyone's expectations is the number one goal, you have sacrificed your uniqueness, and therefore your excellence.

VideoEdit

WNT vs00:35

WNT vs. Canada Hope Solo Save - June 30, 2012

Action in June 2012, in a pre-Olympic match against Canada.

DetailsEdit

Drug warning Edit

Hope Solo received a public warning In July 2012 from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after she tested positive for the banned substance Canrenone in a urine test.

Solo has accepted the warning and will still play for the United States in the 2012 Olympic tournament.

The 30-year-old Solo tested positive for Canrenone in a test on June 15, 2012. "I took a medication prescribed by my personal doctor for pre-menstrual purposes that I did not know contained a diuretic," Solo said in a statement. "Once informed of this fact, I immediately cooperated with USADA and shared with them everything they needed to properly conclude that I made an honest mistake, and that the medication did not enhance my performance in any way." Canrenone is classified as a specified substance, so its presence in an athlete's sample can result in a reduced sanction.

"As someone who believes in clean sport, I am glad to have worked with USADA to resolve this matter and I look forward to representing my country at the 2012 Olympic Games in London," she said.

Considered one of the world's top keepers, she helped the Americans to a second-place finish in 2011 World Cup, only a penalty kicks shootout loss to Japan (also known as JPN) Flag of Japan denying Solo her first World Cup title.

She also is remembered for the contentious finish to the 2007 World Cup in China, when she helped the Americans reach the semifinals. But she was benched by coach Greg Ryan against Brazil for veteran Briana Scurry, a hero of the 1999 world champions. Scurry was rusty, the United States was routed 4-0, and Solo famously criticized Ryan's move.

"It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that," Solo said. "There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. ... You have to live in the present. And you can't live by big names. You can't live in the past."

Ryan dismissed Solo from the World Cup team. She wasn't allowed on the bench for the third-place game, did not participate in the medal ceremony and flew home from China on her own.

Pia Sundhage soon took over as coach and Solo has remained her top goalkeeper since.

Benching and an OutburstEdit

Hope Solo made some World Cup outburst that violated the team-first ethos of women's sports and made her an outcast. Hope Solo had to repair her reputation after her controversial comments at the '07 Women's World Cup.

Talking

"If you truly expect to realize your dreams, abandon the need for blanket approval. If conforming to everyone's expectations is the number one goal, you have sacrificed your uniqueness, and therefore your excellence." -- Hope Solo's MySpace page

"I couldn't sleep in my bed because my body just ached, so I'd start the bathtub," she says. "If that's what depression is, I think I hit it. I was a wreck."

  • Her father, Jeffrey, died of a heart attack in June 2007, three months before the 2007 World Cup in China.
  • Her best friend, Elizabeth Duncan, had been struck by a car and killed while jogging in Seattle in April 2007.

In late September 2007, on the eve of the Cup semifinal against Brazil (also known as BRA) Flag of Brazil U.S. coach Greg Ryan benched Hope Solo in favor of veteran Briana Scurry, despite Solo's three straight World Cup shutouts. After the U.S.'s 4-0 loss, Solo erupted.

"It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that," she told a Canadian reporter, adding that it was no longer 2004 -- a jab, many thought, at Scurry, the keeper on the U.S. team that won the Olympic gold medal in Athens. "There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves."

Ryan and Solo's teammates banished her from the third-place game against Norway, from attending the medal ceremony, from eating at team meals, from the team's flight home. Solo returned to Seattle and faced a decision. With the Olympics less than a year away, should the U.S.'s top goalie give up soccer at age 26? Leave America for a club team in Europe? Or rejoin her still-angry U.S. teammates in St. Louis for a three-game tour just two weeks after the World Cup, as her contract called for.

For two weeks she retreated to the bathtub. She lost 10 pounds. She stopped answering phone calls and e-mails from friends. "I wanted to give up," Solo says. "Why show up somewhere where 20-plus people hate you? But I was going to be there to prove to everybody that you can't determine somebody's career by whether you like them or not."

United States (also known as USA) Flag of the United States hasn't lost a game since the 2007 World Cup.

New coach in 2008, Pia Sundhage of Sweden, the challenge will be twofold: one, to win the gold medal playing the kind of creative, possession-based soccer that was absent in Ryan's kick-and-run approach; and two, to disprove the long-held belief that female athletes need personal bonds with their teammates to succeed.

"Things are changing," says veteran forward Abby Wambach. "The younger players have a little bit of that emotional attachment to each other, but less so than in the past. You don't have to like each other, but once you cross that line, if you can like each other for at least 90 minutes, then I think you can be successful."

"In England guys get in fights and arguments all the time, and usually within an hour or by the next day everything's fine," says former U.S. men's keeper Kasey Keller, who has played 17 seasons in Europe. "But to be completely ostracized? I've never heard of anything like that."

Yet women are different, argues U.S. defender Cat Whitehill, whose coach at University of North Carolina, Anson Dorrance, did more than anyone else to shape the emotional-bond culture of the United States (also known as USA) Flag of the United States team as its coach from 1986 to '94. When a personal problem arises on a men's team, Whitehill notes, "they can punch somebody in the face and it's done with. For girls, we don't punch in the face. We hold it in, and when it comes out, it's fire, which is really awful. But as women we all understand that people are human, and I think everybody has truly forgiven Hope. We can still have a bond with her."

Hope Solo issued a formal public apology when she rejoined the team in St. Louis in October 2007. Solo wasn't allowed to play or train with the team during the tour, and only midfielder Carli Lloyd broke ranks to sit next to her on the bench, visit her in her room and join her for meals. Before the meeting in St. Louis, Lloyd sat next to Solo and tapped her on the shoulder. Stay strong, Hope, she whispered. Lloyd was risking her own standing within the group, but, she says, "I just knew she was a great person and a phenomenal goalkeeper, and we need her on this team."

  • December 2007 USA Soccer officials made it clear that Hope Solo wouldn't face further discipline, and the team had a new coach, Pia Sundhage.

"I had a choice," says Pia Sundhage. "I could just ignore it and say I wasn't part of it. But I wanted to respect all the feelings that were flying around. The other thing I said [to the team] was, 'Do you want to win?' Yes. 'Then we need goalkeepers.'" It was a healthy dose of straight talk (translation: grow up and play) from a coach who set the tone in her first team meeting by singing Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin'.

Hope Solo went through the December 2007 camp, and a tournament in China in January 2008. "Then I'd go home and take a deep breath and feel like I could be myself without being judged," Solo says. "It got to the point where I really believed it. All of a sudden these smiles were genuine, and I think my heart changed. Time has really been the great healer. I know a lot of us have done some deep soul-searching. I'm genuinely enjoying my teammates again, which I never thought was possible."

Wambach stands by the decision to keep Solo off the squad for the third-place match ("It would have affected my ability to prepare for the game," she says), but she allows that it was "probably an overreaction" to tell Solo not to come to the stadium.

For her part, Solo maintains that her remarks after the loss to Brazil were heartfelt while acknowledging the damage they caused. "I believe everything I said," she insists. "Did I want to disrespect my teammates or Bri? No. Do I regret hurting them? There are days when I feel bad, and it's hard to keep my head up. I broke every code this team has been built on. I realize that."

In May 2008, a few days before a game between the United States (also known as USA) Flag of the United States and Canada (also known as CAN) Flag of Canada, Solo and Scurry finally sat down across from each other, for 2½ hours at a cafe in Washington, D.C. "It's been long overdue," Solo said the next morning, her eyes still red. "I'd been scared to have that conversation."


Her father had been Hope's first soccer coach, in Richland, Wash., and the source of her love for sports. But he was also a mystery. Hope knows he lived in New York City and Boston, fought in Vietnam and changed his surname twice over the years, leading her to believe he was part of the witness-protection program. As his marriage to Hope's mother, Judy, foundered, he absconded with eight-year-old Hope and her 11-year-old brother, Marcus, to Seattle for three weeks.

Then, after a decade of almost no contact, Hope and Jeffrey reconnected during her four years at the University of Washington. Though living in a tent in the woods, he attended all of Hope's home games, and she would take macaroni and cheese and join him for long talks.

"The World Cup was the only thing that kept me together after my dad passed away," says Hope Solo, who scattered his ashes in front of her goal before games in China in 2007. "I played thaat (2007) World Cup for him and him alone."

Scurry's father, Ernest, had died two months before the 2004 Olympics, and she says she understood Solo's fragile emotional state during the World Cup. But as Scurry explained to Solo during their conversation in May 2008, she couldn't fathom why Solo had put herself above the team, why she had disrespected the very players who'd made it possible for her to have a career playing soccer.

"We've always tried to be positive role models and show girls how to be good sports, gracious in victory and defeat," Scurry says. "Her comments were difficult to deal with, but one person's opinion doesn't define who I am or what I've done for this team."

"We don't have to be friends to respect what somebody does on the field," Hope Solo says. "I truly hope women's sports can get to that point. We like to say we are, but I don't think we're there yet."

MediaEdit

About Autobiography in 2012Edit

The US women's soccer team goalie has published an autobiography entitled Solo: A Memoir of Hope that goes on sale August 14, 2012.

Solo says her father was in and out of her life growing up. He had multiple families, fathered children with different women, and had them living in homes paid for by money he embezzled from a company where he worked. Solo described him as a con man and ladies man who "was unreliable at best and a criminal at worst." {C}And get this: Solo says she was conceived during a conjugal visit while her father was serving a prison sentence in Washington.

That's enough to give you an idea of how rough things were for Hope. She says she's made peace with her father and that has helped prevent her from being bitter and angry.

Solo described the process of divulging all her secrets as therapeutic, comparing it to having a childhood counselor.

"It was hard. I came to grips with a lot of difficulties that I’ve overcome," Solo told NBC. "Each challenge kind of makes you who you are. It wasn’t always a good thing. I have my own struggles in my life because of the things I was forced to overcome. So it was hard, it was a reality check, for sure. But I am really happy I’ve done it.

"I just want people to not judge with their eyes, but judge with their hearts, and I think that’s what this book is all about," she says.

Unofficial BiographyEdit

In addition to the official biography, the unofficial book, Biography on Hope Solo, was self-published by author Abdul Montaqim, in paperback and Kindle formats.

Fans AppEdit

Fans of Hope Solo created an Android app to co-incide with her appearance in the London Olympics in July 2012.

PhotosEdit

  • Solo appeared naked in the ESPN Body Issue, published 7 October 2011. The magazine became a hot collectible.

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