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Hope Solo to be honored for 200th USWNT cap

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Hope Solo will be honored by U.S. Soccer ahead of the U.S. women’s national team friendly against Denmark on Jan. 21.

Solo, 36, earned her 200th cap at the Olympics in Rio in Aug. 6 2016.

She has won 202 caps in total and the current U.S. Soccer Federations presidential candidate becomes just the 11th American player in history to reach a double century in caps.

More details from U.S. Soccer here:

U.S. Soccer will honor legendary goalkeeper Hope Solo for her 200th cap prior to the U.S. Women’s National Team match against Denmark on Jan. 21 at San Diego Country Credit Union Stadium in San Diego, California.

Hailed as the best goalkeeper in women’s soccer history, Solo, who accrued 202 caps since her debut in 2000, is the only goalkeeper in U.S. and world history to reach 200 appearances for her country. Of those 202 games, 195 were starts.

There is no doubting Solo’s importance to the USWNT setup over the last 18 years.

She has helped the U.S. win two Olympic golds (2008 and 2012) and the 2015 World Cup, but off the pitch controversy has never been too far away, especially in recent years.

The timing of this announcement has been questioned by many with Solo winning her 200th cap over 18 months ago. Nevertheless, she will go down as the greatest goalkeeper the USWNT has ever produced.

U.S. Soccer confirms eight presidential candidates

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The eight approved candidates for the post of U.S. Soccer president have been announced by the confederation ahead of the Feb. 10 election.

Paul Caligiuri, Kathy Carter, Carlos Cordeiro, Steve Gans, Kyle Martino, Hope Solo, Michael Winograd, and Eric Wynalda are the people in question.

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All but Caligiuri have bios posted on the U.S. Soccer web site here.

There’s plenty of controversy inside of the nominees, even respected ones. Kathy Carter works for powerful but oft-criticized Soccer United Marketing, Carlos Cordeiro was embattled leader Sunil Gulati’s vice president, and USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo has had multiple scrapes with the law including her husband’s DUI driving an unpermitted use of a U.S. Soccer vehicle.

In actuality, these are eight X-factors. Carter and Cordeiro may draw scorn for connections with the incumbent — and thus, the embarrassing World Cup qualifiying failure — but are very much their own people.

Martino and Wynalda are former USMNT players with wide-ranging takes on the game today, while Caligiuri fits that bill as well. Laywers Gans and Winograd would bring differing takes on the game as relative outsiders.

Hope Solo enters U.S. Soccer presidential race

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The race to become the next president of U.S. Soccer got a lot more interesting on Thursday, when legendary U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo announced, via her Facebook page, that she has decided to run for election in February.

[ MORE: Kathy Carter to run for USSF president ]

Solo made over 200 appearances and recorded over 100 shutouts during her 17-year USWNT career, which ended last year after comments she made following the team’s elimination from the 2016 Olympics.

Solo, who becomes the ninth candidate to declare, is running on a platform which is player development-, equality- and accessibility-heavy, as she repeatedly refers to the U.S. Soccer Federation as a “nonprofit organization” — which it is — and lambasts the governing body “with millions of dollars at its disposal [for not making] the world’s most beloved sport accessible to all” — from Solo’s Facebook note:

We need passionate and intelligent soccer people leading the way at U.S Soccer. The business strategy at U.S. Soccer cannot continue to be profit before progress. The heart of what USSF must represent is the development of youth soccer in America.

Progress is a process, but the system currently in place does not allow for progress to happen at the rate soccer purists would hope for. It’s the stubborn and elitist attitude of U.S. Soccer to continue down the path of capitalism first. My time in the negotiating room, as well as in countless meetings with USSF presidents, vice presidents, press officers, board members, attorneys and representatives, all the way down the line has given me firsthand experience in their business tactics and where their true goal lies. It has always been about the money.

But the question we all must ask ourselves is this: why does a “profitable” nonprofit organization with millions of dollars at its disposal not make the world’s most beloved sport accessible to all? Where do the massive amounts of money go?

I certainly don’t know, even after taking legal action to find out. As a player, as a representative of my team in negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), and as a Players Association member, we were never able to get answers to our questions with regard to where the millions of dollars from Soccer United Marketing (SUM) and sponsors go, or where the millions of dollars collected from the youth club fees go.

The USSF is a nonprofit organization that refuses to be transparent in its business dealings. It refuses to follow the Equal Pay Act that was passed more than 60 years ago, and despite reports to the contrary, the economic and financial terms of the new World Cup Champion U.S. Women’s National Team’s Collective Bargaining Agreement do not provide the USWNT equal pay, and are neither fair nor equitable.

Solo cites “Equality and Women’s Issues” as the second principle of her campaign, along with “Creating a Winning Culture at USSF,” “Youth and Diversity at all levels” and “Organizational, Operational and Financial Governance Transparency.”

“Soccer is the World’s game, and I want to share it with all of America,” she writes.

Hope Solo alleges sexual assault by former FIFA president Sepp Blatter

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Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has come under fire once again, but this time it is completely unrelated to corruption charges.

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Hope Solo has spoken out against the exiled soccer figure after the former U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper made a claim stating that she was assaulted by the ex-FIFA president at the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards in January 2013.

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Per her remarks, Solo alleges that she had “Sepp Blatter grab my ass” prior to the two going on stage to present her former USWNT teammate Abby Wambach with the Women’s Player of the Year award.

“I was in shock and completely thrown off,” Solo told the Guardian. “I had to quickly pull myself together to present my team-mate with the biggest award of her career and celebrate with her in that moment, so I completely shifted my focus to Abby.”

In its report, the Guardian notes that video of the event shows Blatter trailing Solo as the two enter the stage together prior to presenting the award to Wambach. However, there is no direct proof of the allegations outside of Solo’s remarks.

“I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass,” she said. “It was at the Ballon d’Or, right before I went on stage. [Sexual harassment] has been normalised.”

Blatter has since responded to the accusations through a spokesman, saying, “This allegation is ridiculous.”

Amid various sexual allegations that have arisen throughout the American community as of late, particularly in Hollywood, Solo took to social media in October with a post regarding the subject.

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.