US Soccer has announced that they’ve suspended goalkeeper Hope Solo for six months following her post-match comments following a loss to the Swedish national team, in which she called the Swedes “cowards” for their bunkering style of play.
Update: Just after the story about the suspension was published, it was revealed that US Soccer has also terminated Solo’s national team contract, which may be the end of her international career.
“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati in USSoccer’s statement. “Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.
Solo provided the following statement to Sports Illustrated immediately after U.S. Soccer’s announcement.
Hope Solo's response to SI on her suspension. pic.twitter.com/Y5E5KcrECo— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) August 25, 2016
The length of the suspension seems absurd on its face for using a single inflammatory word in the moments after a difficult loss, but Gulati makes it clear that this is an accumulation from past incidents, including a 30-day suspension last year after she and her husband Jerramy Stevens took a team van without permission and Stevens was arrested for a DUI.
Despite the length in calendar terms, the suspension shouldn’t have a significant on-field impact, as the team is in a competitive lull after the Olympics. The only matches currently on the schedule are two September friendlies. And Solo’s ability to play for the Reign is unaffected, as they struggle to make it back into the playoffs.