Richland might honor World Cup soccer star Hope Solo after all.
The city should have a “Hope Solo Day” and invite the 1999 Richland High School graduate to take part, Councilman Terry Christensen said at this week’s council workshop.
“I think, if she came here, we would have people from throughout the Northwest who would come,” he said.
City officials said July 5, the day after Solo was the winning goalkeeper for the U.S. women in their World Cup victory over Japan, that there were no plans to honor her. Solo won her second consecutive Golden Gloves award as the top goaltender, allowing just three goals in seven matches.
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Christensen said she is a national figure who is “one of our own.”
“I think it’s silly not to honor her,” he said. “Someone came out of our town who is so widely recognized and not to do anything?”
Many Tri-City residents agree.
A Herald story on the issue in July received 245 Facebook comments, the vast majority saying she should be honored.
“Really bad call Richland,” Fran Love posted. “We all learn from our mistakes, we are all human, even those of you that made this decision. I’m sure you all have skeletons in your closets. Should we hold your past against your accomplishments for the rest of your life. Shame on all of you!”
In January, before the World Cup, Solo was suspended from the team for a month after her husband, former Seattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens, was arrested and charged with DUI while driving a team van during training camp. Solo was in the van.
Solo, who now lives in the Seattle area, also was arrested after a June 2014 altercation at her half-sister’s house, though charges were later dropped.
Other commenters said Solo should not be celebrated, at least individually.
“Right call,” wrote Joey Sanchez. “Her superior soccer skills don’t supersede her off-the-field problems. Athletes in her position have so many kids that look up to them because of their on-the-field accolades. We as parents have to explain the off-the-field stuff and teach our kids that character and doing the right thing is more important than any sport. Honor the team because it was a team effort.”
Since the World Cup, Solo has been honored with the team at a New York ticker-tape parade, and appeared on a special Sports Illustrated cover.
Councilwoman Sandra Kent said the council should wait until three absent council members — Mayor David Rose and councilmen Greg Jones and Brad Anderson — were back before discussing whether to honor Solo.
Previously, Rose said he couldn’t think of an appropriate way to honor Solo, but later praised her victory at a council meeting.
Richland had a Hope Solo Day in 2008 after she led the United States to an Olympic gold medal in Beijing. Solo was presented with a certificate and a crystal plaque by then-Mayor John Fox.