Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — Hope Solo is no stranger to controversy. The fiery goalkeeper for the US Women’s Soccer Team has made headlines for various reasons in the past several years. The world knows about her domestic violence arrest in 2014. Now fast-forward to 2016, she made a statement in a post-game interview that got her suspended from the game. Here are the 5 Fast Facts about her suspension:
1Hope Solo Receives Six-Month Ban from USWNT
Goalkeeper Hope Solo was handed a six-month suspension from the US Women’s National Team (USWNT). She made controversial remarks regarding the Swedish national team after her team’s unexpected defeat at the Rio Olympics.
Sunil Gulati, the US Soccer president, released a statement on Wednesday revealing the decision, saying that Solo’s comments were,
“unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our national team players. Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.”
2Called Swedish National Team a “Bunch of Cowards” at Olympics after Quarter-Final Defeat
The 35-year-old drew heavy criticism after commenting on how the Swedish were team “a bunch of cowards” after the US Team was defeated by the Swedes in the quarter-final of the Rio Olympics. As the defending Olympic and World Champions, the US were heavy favorites leading into the Olympics, making their penalty shootout defeat to Sweden one of the big upsets of the games.
Solo was visibly annoyed by the outcome of the match and by the defensive style of play Sweden employed during the game. It was during a post-match interview that she made the controversial remark, which drew the ire of many and would lead to her eventual suspension. Solo said:
“I also think we played a bunch of cowards. But the best team did not win today. I strongly, firmly believe that.”
3It Is Not Her First Controversial Incident During Olympics
Solo had already caused a mild stir before the games started. She annoyed a large component of Brazilians after she posted pictures online of her posing with anti-mosquito products, making a reference to the troubles the country was experiencing with the Zika virus.
This would lead to the home crowds booing and making “Zika” chants towards the goalkeeper any time she would take a goal kick during the United States opening game against New Zealand.
She took the chants in good humor however, saying after the game:
“It’s the Brazilians, they love soccer, they love football, it’s part of the culture so I expect it, but they’re having fun. I mean, at least it’s loud in the stadium – I’d rather have that than hear a needle drop,”
4It is Not Her First Suspension
This wasn’t the first time Solo has received disciplinary action from US Soccer, having been previously banned for 30 days in 2015. This ban was due in relation to her conduct with national team, which was said to have built up over time, leading to the 30-day suspension.
This prior incident was taken into consideration by US Soccer when deciding on the duration of her ban from the team. So while it seems like a 6-month ban seems excessive for disparaging comments, it appears that Solo’s past behaviors have played into the outcome of her suspension.
5The Suspension Will Only Result in Her Missing Two Games But Her Contract Has Been Terminated
Although the ban has been deemed rather excessive by many, it will only result in Solo missing two games. The United States currently only has two games scheduled for the remainder of the year, with Solo’s suspension being lifted in February 2017.
Along with the suspension, Solo’s contract with the national team has been terminated, although she can still play for her club team Seattle Reign because her contract with the team remains intact. She will only lose the national team portion of her contract, as US Soccer pays part of her club contract.
On Wednesday, Solo also released a statement on Twitter regarding the decision:
“For 17 years, I dedicated my life to the U.S. Women’s National Team and did the job of a pro athlete the only way I knew how — with passion, tenacity, an unrelenting commitment to be the best goalkeeper in the world, not just for my country, but to elevate the sport for the next generation of female athletes. In those commitments, I have never wavered. And with so much more to give, I am saddened by the Federation’s decision to terminate my contract.”