Hope Solo’s career, in a nutshell.
There she was, receiving a commemorative jersey for her 200th appearance for the U.S. women’s national team. And who presented it? Current U.S. Soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro, who was called out specifically by Solo the day before at a U.S. Soccer presidential candidates forum.
Incredible success on the field and controversy off it. Sounds about right.
It made for an awkward exchange before the USWNT’s friendly against Denmark on Sunday in San Diego. Cordeiro presented Solo with the jersey rather hurriedly, and never appeared to make eye contact in the moment. To wit:
Solo is arguably the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the women’s game, and she was the first keeper, male or female, to record 100 international shutouts. Solo’s 200th appearance actually came in August 2016, when the USWNT beat France in the Olympics. She made two more appearances to bring her career total to 202, the final cap coming in a loss to Sweden in the quarterfinals.
And that’s when her career with the national team ended. A frustrated Solo blasted the Swedish as “a bunch of cowards” for their defensive tactics, and U.S. Soccer responded by terminating her national team contract.
But her outspoken nature — not all of it for the worst, mind you — was well-documented before that, to say nothing of her alleged assault of two family members in 2014.
It was somewhat surprising, then, when Solo announced her candidacy in early December. She’s run on a platform of equality between the wildly successful women’s program and the men’s program, which is currently in World Cup timeout. She’s also stressed the importance of transparency and grassroots soccer organizations around the country.
And then there’s that trademark bluntness.
“At least two of the candidates should be eliminated from your ballot,” she told the crowd Saturday, pointedly referring to Cordeiro and soccer marketing industry veteran Kathy Carter.
Curiously enough, the note about Solo’s jersey ceremony was buried at the very bottom of U.S. Soccer’s official preview of the match, in which the USWNT beat Denmark 5-1.
There’s smoke to this fire. It all gets resolved next month.
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