Jill Ellis Responds to Hope Solo's Criticism Ahead of 2019 Women's World Cup

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2019

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - AUGUST 03: Hope Solo #1 of United States looks on during the Women's Group G first round match between the United States and New Zealand during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Mineirao Stadium on August 3, 2016 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  (Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)
Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

United States women's national team coach Jill Ellis responded to critical comments made by Hope Solo prior to the USWNT's opening match of the 2019 Women's World Cup

Solo opened up about her feelings toward Ellis in an interview on the BBC's Football Daily podcast.

"She's not the leader I wish her to be," Solo said (h/t CNN's Harmeet Kaur). "She relies heavily on her assistant coaches. She cracks under the pressure quite a bit. But oftentimes that doesn't matter because the quality of the players on the U.S. team is superb."

When addressing the situation Monday, Ellis took the high road, per Yahoo Sports' Doug McIntyre:

"Comments are comments. Listen, I feel over the past five years I've made a lot of different decisions and I have processes to make those decisions and own those processes. And at this point, the focus is about this group of players that are here and now. Comments out there, that's part of it, and part of the message to all is to make sure the focus is on the internal part, and that's where we are."

Solo also wrote a column for the BBC, sharing her thoughts on her tenure with the national team during the Ellis era. The 2015 World Cup champion said Ellis refrained from showing USWNT players their defensive errors so as not to hurt their confidence.

Solo has never been afraid to speak her mind. She was benched for the semifinals of the 2007 Women's World Cup and told reporters after the United States' 4-0 defeat to Brazil that starting Brianna Scurry "was the wrong decision."

The 37-year-old also called Sweden a "bunch of cowards" after they adopted a defensive approach to stymie the USWNT the quarterfinals of the 2016 Summer Olympics. In the aftermath of those comments, U.S. Soccer suspended Solo for six months and terminated her contract with the national team.

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