Hope Solo Suspended by US Soccer: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist

United States goalkeeper Hope Solo takes the ball during a women's Olympic football tournament match against New Zealand at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Eugenio Savio)
Associated Press

The United States Soccer Federation announced on Aug. 24 it suspended goalkeeper Hope Solo from the women's national team for six months.

According to Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, the federation also terminated her national-team contract.

Wahl provided a statement from Solo:

Grant Wahl @GrantWahl

Hope Solo's response to SI on her suspension. https://t.co/Y5E5KcrECo

TMZ reported on Tuesday that the goalkeeper was being recorded when she heard about the suspension:

"Six month suspension, no pay, terminated contract effective immediately," Solo said while hugging her husband, Jerramy Stevens (ex-NFL player). 

"17 f--king years and it's over!"

Solo was being recorded for the Fullscreen documentary, "Keeping Score" -- which will air even more footage from the moment during the full episode. 

The punishment came after Solo described Sweden as playing like "a bunch of cowards" after the Swedes knocked the U.S. out of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, per the Los Angeles Times' Kevin Baxter.

Solo's comments irked those inside and outside of U.S. Soccer.

The Washington Post's Sally Jenkins was critical of the 35-year-old: "She's a chronically rattled and rattling soul, the American goalkeeper. Let’s face it: For every shiny marketing moment and big victory she's been a part of, she's given the U.S. a nasty unwanted drama. The victories usually smoothed over her behavior. Not this time. This time she went pure loser and lout."

"I mean really disappointed, to be honest," U.S. teammate Megan Rapinoe said of Solo in an interview with NBC Sports (via the Guardian). "That's not our team, that's not what this team has always been, that's not what this team will be in the future."

Solo is one of the greatest goalkeepers in U.S. history, but she has also been a polarizing figure because of her off-field behavior.

In 2007, she publicly questioned then-coach Greg Ryan's decision to bench her at the 2007 FIFA World Cup in favor of Briana Scurry.

In January 2015, Solo's husband, former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens, was driving a U.S. Soccer-owned vehicle when police pulled him over on suspicion of driving under the influence. Solo was a passenger in the vehicle. U.S. Soccer consequently suspended her 30 days.

In October 2015, a Washington appeals court determined she will face charges on an alleged domestic violence incident that occurred in June 2014. According to ESPN.com's Mark Fainaru-Wada, Solo's half-sister, Teresa Obert, alleges Solo attacked her and her teenage son.

Wahl tweeted Solo's six-month suspension isn't just for her comments about Sweden but "an accumulation of things over time." Fox Sports' Ryan Rosenblatt thought that sent a mixed message:

Ryan Rosenblatt @RyanRosenblatt

One hand: Hope Solo’s ban is cumulative, not just for the comments. Other hand: Isn’t that confirmation they’ve handled her poorly til now?

The New York Times' Andrew Das assumes fans have seen the last of Solo in a national-team shirt:

Andrew Das @AndrewDasNYT

US Soccer suspends Hope Solo for six months. Barring change of heart by Ellis, ban effectively ends her national team career.

A cynic would argue the suspension is conveniently timed for U.S. Soccer. With the Olympics over, the next major tournament is the Women's World Cup in three years, and qualification won't begin for a while. Solo will only miss international friendlies during her suspension.

ESPN's Julie Foudy reported Solo can continue to play for her club, too:

Julie Foudy @JulieFoudy

Solo is NOT suspended by NWSL as told to me by US Soccer. Interesting as Solo not a NWSL employee, only a US Soccer employee. #uswnt

Julie Foudy @JulieFoudy

Solo essentially missing nothing w #USWNT. & allowed to play w @SeattleReignFC, which US Soccer pays for. More symbolic than substantive.

Terminating Solo's contract also may come off as U.S. Soccer being somewhat excessive to bring the hammer down after failing to do so in the past.

The women's national team has already raised issues with the federation over its pay compared to what the men's national team earns. Solo's punishment may give the women's team more ammunition should it want to continue its fight with U.S. Soccer.