US downplaying distractions, latest Solo report ahead of Women’s World Cup opener

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba – United States players say they are not distracted by the latest developments surrounding Hope Solo.

A new report on Sunday morning brought back into the spotlight allegations of domestic violence against the U.S. goalkeeper. The news came on the day prior to the United States’ 2015 Women’s World Cup opener against Australia.

It’s the latest distraction in a 10-day span that has included a scandal that led to FIFA president Sepp Blatter announcing his intent to resign as well as the ongoing debate over the use of artificial turf at the Women’s World Cup. Veteran U.S. forward Abby Wambach said the team is insulated from the outside world.

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“We’re here to play soccer,” Wambach said. “I’m excited to be a part of this team, and Hope is my teammate. We are creating a bubble and we want nothing to penetrate that bubble right now. Our focus is on playing Australia tomorrow and beating Australia.”

Solo was not made available for comment. U.S. Soccer did not have comment on the report.

U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd is one of Solo’s closest friends on the team and her current roommate in Winnipeg. Lloyd said she didn’t even speak to Solo about Sunday’s report.

“We’re roommates right now and honestly I didn’t discuss it with her for one second,” Lloyd said.

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Coach Jill Ellis says she doesn’t read anything in the media, preferring to “stay in the bubble.” Ellis was made aware of the report by her press officer.

“Hope’s been fantastic,” Ellis said. “That [incident] was a long time ago. I’ll be honest, we’ve moved on. And she’s been a fantastic player and teammate so none of that is even what resonated with us and I’m sure many of the players aren’t even aware of it.”

Lloyd is enacting her usual procedure for major tournaments that she has often discussed: keeping friends, family and potential distractions at a distance.

“Just like you get fit, you just block out distractions,” Lloyd said. “For me, even in my personal life, everything is on hold. I’m going off the grid for the month and everything can wait. My fiancé can wait, my friends can wait. To me, this is the only concern and the only focus.”