Hope Solo, who is preparing for the 2016 Olympics as the goalie for Team USA, has shed light on the substandard playing conditions in the National Women's Soccer League.
In a blog post on her official website, Solo highlighted the "dangerously narrow" playing field that her team, the Seattle Reign, and its opponent, the Western New York Flash, had to deal with.
Christine Sinclair of the NWSL's Portland Thorns and the Canadian national soccer team tweeted out a picture of the field conditions during that game:
However, as Solo noted, "The truth is that the standards of our league are so inconsistent and disappointing across the board, these kinds of incidents are really the rule and not the exception."
Solo went on to outline the many problems associated with the NWSL, including salaries for the seven-month season that pay the women between "$6,000 to $14,000 for that entire time" and players not receiving "adequate shoes or gloves if they don't have their own contracts." She also noted teams will "cut costs by not traveling with a goalkeeper coach or kit man."
In addition to those issues, Solo stated that quite often players won't shower after games "because the showers are disgusting and unsanitary." She also wrote that player safety at the games is lacking:
We do not have close to adequate security. During games, fans are allowed to stand directly behind the goal and yell the most obscene things you can imagine. With the vitriol that comes out of people's mouths, who knows what they're capable of, and there's usually virtually no security there to do anything about it. Again, people are allowed to stand literally feet from the goal. And after the games, the walk to the locker room from the field is often right through tailgating fans, again without security.
Solo wrapped up her post by pleading with NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush to take a look at everything the players must deal with: "Go to some of these hotels, training facilities and games yourself. See the conditions of the league up close. And after you've taken it all in, be the leader we need you to be."
The U.S. women's national team set a television ratings record in the United States for its World Cup win over Japan last year, yet nothing has changed in the 12 months since, according to Solo's account.
The outrage over the subpar playing conditions that Solo outlined should lead to some kind of change, if for no other reason than to address player safety.
Until Plush and the rest of the league's executives realize there is an issue, the cries from athletes such as Solo will only get louder.