Legendary American Keeper Signs With Seattle Sounders? Check! Hope Solo will be a netminder with the Sounders Women in 2012.
UPDATE: We've confirmed that the Sounders Women will be playing at Starfire Sports Complex.
There couldn't be a stronger signal that the state of women's soccer in America is in flux than to have Hope Solo and Sydney Leroux join the Seattle Sounders Women. With WPS faltering, WPSL forming a limited elite division and adding a team in Issaquah, it was already clear that there would be some change. After a strong World Cup run that resulted in a second place finish for the American women and a in year when they can pursue Olympic Gold, 2012 may be the best chance in ages for women's soccer to take off on a professional level in the U.S.
In the Puget Sound those efforts will be lead through a familiar story as a legendary national team goalkeeper returns to the place she calls home. Leroux is a controversial figure north of the border where she is seen as leaving her birth nation to chase glory with the United States. She will be repeating that on the club level as the Vancouver Whitecaps also have a W-League team within their brand umbrella.
Amy Carnell, Sounders Women GM, in a statement released at SoundersFC.com indicates that more may be yet to come;
"Hope is undoubtedly the best women’s keeper in the game today," said Sounders General Manager Amy Carnell. "Her signing represents the caliber player Sounders Women’s fans can expect in 2012. As the landscape of women’s soccer continues to evolve, we realize the unique opportunity before us. The addition of Hope Solo and Sydney Leroux sets the tone for what we think will be a very special year for Sounders Women’s soccer."
The Sounders Women are coached by National Team legend Michelle French. Their Western Conference opponents are Vancouver, the Victoria Highlanders, Santa Clarita Blue Heat, Pali Blues, LA Strikers, Colorado Rush and Colorado Force.
United States national team players will be in games that do not interfere with their Olympics quest.