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Hope Solo says she has settled grievance with US Soccer

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Hope Solo has settled a grievance with U.S. Soccer over her suspension from the women’s national team following comments she made at the Rio Olympics.

The settlement was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. The 35-year-old goalkeeper was suspended for six months and her contract with the federation was terminated after she called the Swedish team “a bunch of cowards” following the U.S. team’s quarterfinal loss.

Details about the settlement, reached last month, were not released. The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Players Association filed the grievance on Solo’s behalf.

In a statement provided Friday to The Associated Press, Solo reiterated her regret over the comments.

“As I expressed in my apology to the Swedish captain immediately following the match, I have tremendous respect for the Swedish team, and in describing the style of play, I used a choice of words that was both offensive and not at all what I had intended to convey,” she said.

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“We have amicably resolved the matter and are moving forward in a positive way,” she added.

U.S. Soccer did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Women’s Soccer Team Players Association declined to comment.

Solo anchored the team in goal for the 2015 Women’s World Cup victory, allowing just three goals in seven games with five shutouts during the tournament – earning her a second straight Golden Glove Award.

For her career, Solo has made 202 total appearances with the national team, with 153 wins and an international-record 102 shutouts.

The defending champion U.S. women were ousted from the Olympics last summer when Sweden advanced 4-3 on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw.

Solo’s “cowards” quote came immediately following the loss. Sweden went on to play in the gold-medal match against Germany.

Solo told the AP in an interview late last year that she spoke to coach Jill Ellis and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati following the loss, and felt that the issue was put to rest. After she returned to the United States, she said she was blindsided by the announcement about her suspension.

She said she believes U.S. Soccer wanted her off negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. Solo has been an outspoken advocate for equal pay and was among the players who filed a complaint against the federation with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging wage discrimination.

“Let’s call it what is, which is a firing,” Solo told AP then. “It was a termination of my contract effective immediately with severance. That is a firing. It wasn’t a suspension, that’s what they told the media because it looked better. But I got fired. I got fired for what they say was using the word `cowards’ but in reality they got rid of an adversary in the fight for equal pay.”

U.S. Soccer said at the time that Solo was suspended following a culmination of actions, and separately her contract was also terminated with the team.

American goalkeeper Hope Solo looks to revive career abroad

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AMSTERDAM (AP) American goalkeeper Hope Solo is looking to resume playing and says she had had offers to play overseas.

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Solo was handed a six-month suspension and her contract with U.S. Soccer was terminated last year following the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after she called Sweden’s team “cowards” for their defensive style of play against the Americans.

Since the abrupt break in her career, the 36-year-old Solo has focused on recovering from shoulder replacement surgery.

“Let’s be clear, a goalkeeper peaks a little bit later in their career, so I feel like I have many years ahead of me if that opportunity arises,” Solo said in an interview Monday. “I’m very happy with my career should I walk away from the game today, but I’m not one to retire. I have not retired.”

Even before her Olympic outburst, Solo was at odds with American soccer leadership as she lobbied for women’s players to earn equitable salaries to the male national team players.

“My contract got terminated because of my fight for equal pay with the United States Soccer Federation,” Solo said. “I’m not sure until the lawsuit is over, that anything will change that. In the meantime I’ve had great opportunities and great contract offers to go back overseas and play. Possibly you’ll see me overseas next year.”

Especially as Solo, who played in Sweden and France in 2004 and 2005, said her “shoulder is doing great.”

“I have a completely metal arm now – I’m bionic,” she said. “I’m better now than I have been in the last 10 years so I’m pain free and I have more range of motion. I’m very happy with my health right now and I’m very happy with my fitness. I’m ready to get back.”

Solo, who was voted into the World XI team by fellow players in March, still hopes to be back in the United States side for the World Cup title defense in France.

“I’ve always wanted to play in the 2019 World Cup,” Solo said. “I’m in the best shape of my life in terms of my shoulder. I feel great. Should they (the United States) welcome me back then I will be in the goal competing and hopefully bringing back another World Cup trophy, but it’s highly unlikely they are going to ask for me to come back. But I’m here guys.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer

Megan Rapinoe must fight for her place after Ellis leaves her out

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Megan Rapinoe still has not found her pre-injury form, and it’s finally caught up to her in a place that matters most.

USWNT head coach Jill Ellis left Rapinoe off the roster for the SheBelieves Cup, saying the 31-year-old needs to prove she’s back to 100% after her 2015 ACL tear.

“I told Megan she just needs time to work her way back in & to get game fit,” Ellis told ESPN’s Julie Foudy. “This is a marathon, not a sprint.” Ellis’s words confirm that, at least publicly, Rapinoe’s exclusion has nothing to do with her national anthem protests, and everything to do with on-field performances.

Rapinoe was invited to an extended training camp in January in Los Angeles, but clearly did not do enough.

Rapinoe made just one start all of the 2016 calendar year.

Ellis also cited positional depth when explaining Rapinoe’s absence. “We have lots of depth in wide areas with [Mallory] Pugh & [Megan] Klingenberg back in the mix.”

Also left off the roster was the suspended Hope Solo and attacker Sydney Leroux, who has not featured for the national team in over a year thanks to the birth of her first child with husband Dom Dwyer.

FULL INTERVIEW: USWNT’s Hope Solo in lion’s den on Swedish TV

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If you can’t beat them, but also aren’t allowed to play domestically, join them.

That could be the case for suspended USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo, who is pondering offers abroad.

Those include clubs in Sweden, whose national team Solo famously blasted for playing like “a bunch of cowards” in the USWNT’s elimination from the Summer Olympics. Solo says she hopes Sweden would welcome her if it comes to that.

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Solo was suspended six months for the aforementioned comments, and had her contract terminated by U.S. Soccer.

She joined Norwegian talk show host Fredrik Skavlan late Friday to talk about all of that, and the crowd had a laugh as the host opened the conversation by saying, “You are very famous in Sweden.”

She apologized for using the words “cowards” but went onto defend her original position. She said that by “cowards” she meant “not Olympic-spirited”.

Yep. Totally the same thing.

“If anyone actually listened to the interview, and I’m not sure if you have, I wasn’t enraged, I wasn’t emotional, I wasn’t angry. I Just had this conversation with the journalists in the room after the game,” Solo says. “I didn’t mean to come across that the players were cowards or the coach was a coward. I meant the style of play wasn’t very Olympic-spirited.”

Moving on from that, there was a very layered discussion on her suspension and — oddly enough — it was another American guest in Tyra Banks who phrased this probing question:

“There are people in American sports, men, who have said and done the most crazy violent things,” Banks said. “They get a slap on the wrist. They get suspended for a bit and then you see them right back, doing everything, playing like crazy and having endorsers coming right back. I’m stupefied, confused right now.”

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That’s really the rub, isn’t it? Solo was clearly suspended as a culmination of her actions and words over the years, not for breaking the Olympic spirit (as embarrassing as her words were). But she claims the suspension has to do with her leading the fight for equal pay in a new collective bargaining agreement for the USWNT, and there could certainly be something to that.

As with many athletes, reconciling some salient points with an abrasive personality and sometimes eye-rolling comments (see below) is a challenge.

Other things:

  • Solo said she’s never allow her kid to play goalie because it’s “thankless”
  • Solo claimed she spoke with Sweden’s Lotta Schelin immediately after the game, and that the Swedish star was totally okay with her “cowards” comments.
  • Solo on why she didn’t speak to Pia Sundhage, who blasted Solo’s “cowards” comments after the game, “I didn’t have the chance to speak to her. She coaches the other team. It’s kinda hard to speak to Pia or have a relationship with Pia anymore.”
  • Related a conversation with her husband that, “People don’t understand the best part of retirement is you can wake up every single morning and actually decide what you want to do, without obligations”. 

On that last one: Yes, yes they do. I think nearly everyone understands this frame of mind, even if some are hit hard by retirement.

Again, that’s part of the issue here. Solo makes some good points, but her unique personality makes it difficult to separate fact from fiction.

USWNT boss Jill Ellis comments on Solo suspension: “Sum total of actions”

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United States women’s national team coach Jill Ellis has opened up about the decision to suspend Hope Solo for six months.

The embattled goalkeeper, who happens to be one of the most decorated athletes in soccer history, crashed through the proverbial thin ice after branding Sweden “cowards” following the USWNT’s Olympic ouster.

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Solo has claimed the suspension is about her being too loud in supporting equal pay and better playing surfaces, not her Sweden comments. According to Ellis, it’s more than all of that.

From USSoccer.com:

“Over time there’s been off the field distractions for which the Federation has taken action. Each time an action has been taken there’s been made clear an expectation that this would be the last time such a step would be necessary. Sadly, how Hope handled her post-Olympic comments forced us to make a significant decision. It’s not simply a decision made about comments, it was based on the sum total of actions that have unfortunately shone a negative light on our program.”

Ellis said the side would have used the upcoming friendlies to give inexperienced goalkeepers playing time anyway, so the Solo suspension doesn’t hurt much. Solo had an up-and-down Olympics, but remains one of the best ‘keepers in the world.

Whether she’s one of the best teammates is another question altogether. Again, when the story of a player and her husband stealing a team vehicle for a night on the town and getting pulled over is just one of the stories on the docket, things tend to add up.