U.S. women’s national team coach Jill Ellis has emphasized that Hope Solo’s suspension stemmed from a “sum total of actions” and not just comments the goalkeeper made about Sweden during the Olympics.
Solo was suspended for six months and her contract with U.S. Soccer was terminated following the team’s disappointing exit from the Rio Games.
Sweden eliminated the United States on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in the quarterfinals. Afterward, Solo called the Swedes a “bunch of cowards” for their defensive style of play.
Ellis discussed the suspension for the first time in a Q & A interview published on U.S. Soccer’s website.
“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,” Ellis said. “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.”
Solo won’t be eligible for selection to the national team again until February.
Solo was also suspended in early 2015 after husband Jerramy Stevens was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in a U.S. Soccer team van while the team was at a Southern California training camp. Solo was with him at the time. The former Seattle Seahawks tight end later pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and four years on probation. Solo was suspended by U.S. Soccer for 30 days.
Solo also faces the possibility of a trial on misdemeanor domestic violence charges after a 2014 incident at her sister’s home, when she was accused of being intoxicated and assaulting her sister and 17-year-old nephew. Solo said she was a victim in the altercation. Earlier this year, an appeals court in Washington state rejected Solo’s request to avoid trial.
Following her latest suspension, Solo decided to end her season with the Seattle Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League.
The suspensions have sullied an otherwise stellar career.
She became the first goalkeeper with 100 international shutouts when the United States defeated South Africa 1-0 in Chicago in July. It also was her 150th career win. During the Rio Games she made her 200th appearance in goal for the United States, an international record.
Solo won her second straight Golden Glove Award for the best goalkeeper at the Women’s World Cup a year ago. Over the course of the tournament in Canada, she had five shutouts and allowed only three goals in seven games. The U.S. won the World Cup for its third title in soccer’s premier event.
Ellis said in the U.S. Soccer interview that the team will look to develop goalkeepers in the run-up to the 2019 World Cup in France.
“After the Olympics the plan was always to prepare for 2019 and that means investing in the other goalkeepers and getting them playing time. That’s still the process and it’s the same for every position,” she said. “Everything right now is building towards 2019 and our future.”