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.
“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.