A lot has happened to Hope Solo in the last 18 months. Writing the timeline down of it seems to be the only real way to keep it all straight. Let’s start with the basics.
- 640 days since the U.S. Women’s National Team crashed out of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
- 628 days since Hope Solo was suspended by USSF for comments she made after the USWNT crashed out of the 2016 Olympics.
- 621 days since Solo decided not to play for the Seattle Reign for the rest of the 2016 season.
- 594 days since Solo had shoulder replacement surgery on her right shoulder.
- 444 days since Solo’s suspension was lifted by USSF and she was, at least on paper, free to be selected for the USWNT again.
- 157 days since Solo announced she was running for USSF president.
- 93 days since Solo lost her bid to be USSF president.
It’s been a wild 640 days, hasn’t it? It feels like a lifetime since we were talking about Solo in the context of a goalkeeper — discussing her on-the-field play and not her off-the-field behavior.
But at the end of the day, the reason we’re talking about Hope Solo at all is because she turned herself into the very best the sport has ever seen. The reason she matters and is debated, and her life has become the open book it has, is because of her on-the-field talents. Her U.S. Soccer records of 202 appearances, 190 starts, 153 wins, and 102 shutouts all force us to pay attention.
But in the 93 days since Solo lost her bid to be the next President of U.S. Soccer, we haven’t heard much from Solo. She made some comments just after the election about how the Athletes Council was under a lot of pressure and cracked. But in a world used to Hope Solo saying something eye-catching on a nearly monthly basis for 20 years, it’s been a quiet few months.
Enter Gimlet Media. They have a new podcast called, “We Came To Win” about the stories behind the great moments of the World Cup. And we all know the World Cup, men’s or women’s, offers some of the very best moments in sports. It is the ultimate dream of everyone who straps on a pair of boots, touches a ball and starts jogging down field to try and score a goal against an empty net.
Hope Solo doesn’t have to dream of what World Cup glory feels like. She just has to remember what’s she actually done. Solo is, after all, the only goalkeeper currently, male or female, with a matching set of Golden Gloves at home. She won in both 2011 and 2015 to mark her as the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
Solo sat down for an in-depth conversation with the hosts of “We Came To Win,” which airs on Wednesday, May 16. Gimlet Media gave Sounder at Heart a teaser clip from the episode, along with an enticing preview for the conversation: “In soccer, the glory usually goes to the attacking players like Maradona, Pele, and George Best. These legends of the game created endless highlight reels with their sublime skills and their goals. But every so often a goalkeeper comes along that’s so good that the saves they make, and the goals they stop, become the highlight of the game. One such goalkeeper is Hope Solo. On this episode of We Came to Win, we talk to Solo about her soccer career, and what it’s like to win a World Cup.”
The thing is? While the preview clip is short, it’s really nice to just hear Hope Solo talk about soccer for a minute. In the clip, you can hear Solo talk about some interpersonal drama between herself and Brandi Chastain back in 1999. And while drama between the two is not something Solo has been shy about discussing before, this story might be something young goalkeepers can learn from.
Solo is a good storyteller. She has a way, even in moments you might not believe her version of events, of weaving a story that pulls you in. She has a way about her that both makes you unsure of what she is going to say next, yet makes it nearly impossible for you to stop listening once she’s started speaking.
The World Cup, even with the cluster that was 2007 and the heartbreak that was 2011, has been very good to Hope Solo. For all the off-the-field drama, the legal troubles, and the truly bad ideas Solo has had off the field, on it there is no one better between the posts.
Hope Solo is a complex person. Her legacy is just as complex as she is. I’m interested in hearing Solo talk about her on the pitch heroics and failings. For all her missteps and misdeeds the one thing you can always count on Solo for is a good story.
Head on over to Gimlet Media’s website to hear the full episode Wednesday. We’ll also update this story with more highlights and quotes from the conversation.