PORTLAND — Hope Solo diffused the drama surrounding her personal life as the gold medal-winning U.S. women’s soccer team prepared for an exhibition match against Ireland.
“My life is great,” the former University of Washington goalkeeper said. “My life is happy.”
Solo made her first appearance with the national team since she was married to former NFL and Huskies tight end Jerramy Stevens in Washington state on Nov. 13, a day after his arrest at a party on suspicion of domestic violence. A judge determined there wasn’t enough evidence to hold Stevens, but the matter remained under investigation.
Solo spoke after a workout with her fellow U.S. teammates at Portland’s downtown Jeld-Wen Field. The national team plays Ireland tonight on its U.S. appreciation tour following a 2-1 victory over Japan in the final match at the London Games.
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“It’s unfortunate what the media can do to judge before the facts are out there. It’s hard to see, but it’s a hard truth, and it’s part of life,” she said. “I’m happy. I’m happily married. I would never stand for domestic violence. I’ve never been hit in my life.”
Solo has had a stellar career with the national team, helping the team to two straight Olympic gold medals. But she’s never shied from attention: from her Twitter criticism of former national team member Brandi Chastain during the London Games to appearing on TV’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
Police say they were called to a disturbance at a home in Kirkland in the early-morning hours on Nov. 12. Solo and her brother blamed a disturbance on three unknown men. Officers maintained they had probable cause to arrest Stevens because they observed evidence of an altercation, including a cut on Solo’s elbow, and his admission that the two had argued, according to court documents.
The next day, Solo and Stevens were married. Solo, 31, posted a smiling photo of herself with Stevens, 33, to Twitter two days later.
Stevens was selected with the No. 28 pick of the 2002 draft by the Seahawks after a stellar career at UW. But he also was involved in incidents away from football that included reckless driving charges for crashing into a nursing home.
His best season with the Seahawks was in 2005 when he started a career-high 12 games and had 45 receptions as Seattle won the NFC championship.
The two started dating after the London Games.
“Like I said, we’re happy, and ultimately that’s all that matters,” she said.
Today’s match is the sixth of the U.S. team’s Fan Tribute Tour.
Jill Ellis, women’s development director for U.S. soccer, is coaching the U.S. team against Ireland. Former Australian national team coach Tom Sermanni takes over the national team in January, replacing Olympic coach Pia Sundhage, who stepped down.
Ireland and the United States will play again in Glendale, Ariz., on Saturday as the tour continues.