In a new interview Hope Solo gave with Anne M. Peterson of the Associated Press, Solo says she hasn’t ruled out returning to the national team. “Let’s be honest, it’s not my decision if I return to the national team,” she said.
I find it an honor and a privilege to represent our country at the highest level in a sport that I love, in a position that I love. And I would do almost anything to play at that level once again. I say almost, because at this point in time I believe our fight for equality is much bigger than being on the national team again.
One point of disagreement some might have with the interview is how Solo speaks of her termination and the reasons she gives.
Let's call it what is, which is a firing. It was a termination of my contract effective immediately with severance. That is a firing. It wasn't a suspension, that's what they told the media because it looked better. But I got fired. I got fired for what they say was using the word 'cowards' but in reality they got rid of an adversary in the fight for equal pay.
Many have noted it may not have been solely her work toward equal pay or the use of “coward” that sunk her, but rather her legal trouble catching up to her. USSF suspended her only 30 days for a 2015 DUI in connection with her husband. They did not suspend her at all for her 2014 arrest for domestic violence. They might have been waiting for a convenient excuse to punish her more severely for these previous issues.
Still serving a six-month suspension, she wouldn’t be able to come back to national team duty until at least February. From a Reign point of view, the only way she would likely return to the roster is as an allocated player due to the salary cap hit. Whether U.S. Soccer chooses to allocate her won't be decided until the suspension is completed, though — a timetable Coach Laura Harvey can’t be thrilled about. Solo being on the roster or not creates a domino effect for Harvey as she goes into a season without Kim Little, Keelin Winters or Manon Melis.
The suspension and financial issues aside, she may not be able to continue anyway. At the end of September, with a post on Facebook, Solo let the world know she had her right shoulder replaced. During the AP interview she did not speak to her shoulder surgery or how the recovery is going. While it does sound like she wants to keep playing, there is no word how this new shoulder may hold up.
Hope Solo’s future on the USWNT is unknown, as is whether she will be back with Seattle in 2017. But if this interview is any indication, Solo isn’t ready to hang her boots up just yet.