U.S. Women's National Team

Must-See Interview: Hope Solo

HopeSolo (ISI)

Photo by ISIphotos.com

"In everything I do, I play to win, and I speak the truth, and people are either going to love me or they hate me." – Hope Solo

U.S. women's national team goalkeeper Hope Solo has become as polarizing figure as there is in the women's game. Her talent on the field as arguably the premiere goalkeeper in the world is unquestionable, but her actions off the field have taken some of the attention from her success and accomplishments.

In an interview for ESPN's TV show E:60, Solo, who just released a tell-all book, dishes on everything from Greg Ryan's controversial decision to bench her in the semifinals of the 2007 Women's World Cup, her celebrity experiences off the field, her conflict with former USWNT standout and current TV analyst Brandi Chastain during this summer's Olympics to her success on the field. Give the interview a watch and let us know what you think about what Solo has to say in the comments section below. Enjoy:

  • Rory

    Again though, her initial twitter posts weren’t about Chastain’s commentary, it was a personal shot at her ability to play and knowledge of the game, something along the lines of “Wish we had a commentator who understood the game” or some crap.

    Can you imagine if Lebron James said that about someone like Issaih Thomas or Karl Malone?


  • elgringorico

    Precisely what? He quoted a movie and didn’t provide any factual basis or argument. You calling people women-haters is just as extreme and absurd as Solo’s defacing of several people for her own benefit.

    Note that all of her silly stories (the Ryan snub, dancing teacher, and her friend saying that comment about her dad) are closed door and in every scenario the opposing party has 100% denied what she has said.

    She’s just exaggerating stupid stories for no reason at all. In the real world we call people like that attention whores or drama queens.


  • yankiboy

    I disagre with Hope’s comments about Chastain and I disagree with you.

    I think Cahstain was doing her job when she mentioned RB’s defense. I would categorize the comments as “mildly critical” at best.

    Chastain is not my favorite commentator by any stretch of the imagination but I’ve never considered her “garbage”.

    I also disagree with you marginlization of Chastain after the 99 WWC. She’s done a lot to try and grow the sport in the US.

    Solo looked like a clown when she suggested that Chastain had no idea of what she was talking about–it hasn’t been that long–not that many things have changed. It’s not like we’re talking about the NFL and Chastain played back in the days that guys wore leather helmets.

    I did like the way that Solo was supporting RB–I’m sure I’m not alone when I suggest that the two already had a lot of beef going back for several years and Chastains criticism of RB was an opporunity for her to take a swipe back at Chastain, especially for her comment after Solo failed the test.

    Where I agree with you is that I prefer Foudy. I also wonder if there is a feeling on the part of networks that there has to be a women on the set doing commentary when the USWNT plays. Those are the two points that resonate with me. I’m not sure if the latter is about marketing or a sense of obligation in including a woman because it is a womens sporting event.


  • Mig22

    Fair point, Rory.

    On the other hand, remember that it was Chastain’s criticism, not of Solo but, of Buehler and the defense which set her off. I can’t fault her for defending her defenders.

    It’s a p*ing contest, to be sure. 🙂


  • yankiboy

    I’m not going to say that giving his opionion makes LD a bad guy but when guys like Terrell Owens or Jose Canseco or Jeremy Shockey do it, they get lit up by industry types, guys on sportalk radio and the internet. They’re just speaking their own version of the “truth”.

    Hope gets lit up when people take exception to a lot of her comments.

    Personally, I’d actually argue that’s “progress” as opposed to suggesting that there is some sort of gender-based double standard.


  • Tim

    elgringorico, I think you misunderstood. I agree with you.

    I said “precisely” in reference to Reid’s comments, because I assumed that Reid’s quote was directed at Solo. Now that I look at it, I can see where one would think his comment was directed at another commenter in this thread. Either way, I think the comment applies to Solo quite well, and I think I have agree with just about everything you have said in this thread.


  • elgringorico

    yeah my bad I thought you were Tyler calling me a woman-hater again. Mixed up my T names.


  • whoop=whoop

    She’s the best goalkeeper I’ve seen in the woman’s game and it’s not even close. I wouldn’t presume to know someone based on their public persona and really don’t care…… I’ll leave judgments about “what kind of person she is” to people who know her. The only relevant thing is that my relationship to her is watching her play soccer, and that is a joy.


  • Tim

    That is so not true. If Lebron made those same comments about Magic Johnson as an announcer, you don’t think people would be talking about that? Of course they would.


  • yankiboy

    I don’t really see where gender plays a role in the above statement. I just don’t.

    Aren’t high profile people (regarless of gender) with strong opinions who are outspoken usually considered to be polarizing???

    If some of the outspoken athletes I referred to earlier previously were women, they’d still be lightning rods for discussion/debate.

    Hope’s profile is a testament to sports and popular culture. Fifteen years ago, I don’t think that there would have been more than 10 comments posted here. I think that demonstrates more men being interested enough and aware enough to take the time to discuss her.


  • Carl Nostrand

    Go Hope! She is a leader in the sports world, not just the mans world any more thanks to brave women like Hope Solo.

    Stay in the present is her message and a dame good one!!!

    I haven’t read the book but don’t need too. I understand exactly were Hope Solo is comming from. You go girl!

    She is not turning on the team as much as the media is turning up a story. A story that has yet to be played out for the world to see. One that the media and whitty critics can have a say.

    A soccer story from America….. This is the real news.

    I think Hope Solo is world class on the feild, and still pollishing of the field.

    We need goilies in America. Better yet we need training pitches that are safe and comfortale for all of our youth male and female to learn how to dive, fly, and extent at the perfect time.

    When all of our youth players (M&F) become balanced and centered enough to flow with the presure of being in goal, ready and able to take one for the team, thats when we can expect to reach Hope Solo’s goal.

    I like hearing about Hope Solo future and look forward to the book.

    Wu li wa


  • yankiboy

    To elaborate on what Tim added to the discussion.

    When Kobe was asked about if this years Oympic team matched up with the Dream Team the chatter afterwards had nothing to do with beacuse Kobe and Jordan are dudes.

    It was a generetional debate that was fueld by the legendary status that ’92 team had.

    Maybe you didn’t notice because you might not care about Hoops but that story was buzzing on sports media outlets and people were arguing about it for days. It was a bit silly but it still got a lot of play–because of the generational thing–not the gender thing.

    Just because Kobe said that this year’s team could beat the ’92 squad. He wasn’t even peacocking. He just answered a reporter’s question…


  • yankiboy

    Your not blaming the media for some of Hope’s controversies, are you?

    I just want to be sure that I understand correctly the comments about the media.

    Hope is marketing Hope–I don’t have problem with that. That’s how the game works.

    The one point that I can agree with you on is that this story isn’t written yet. There are a lot of chapters to be written.

    Hopefully Solo will have a fantastic and long career. I look forward to watching it as it plays out.


  • Jacknut

    I’m there. If she were a guy, she wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow with her behavior. Goalkeepers are flakes after all.


  • David

    I’m glad Jeremy Schaap went ahead and told me it was Cat Whitehill who made the comment about Solo exploiting her father’s death. Now I don’t have to read the book now, since the suspense was killing me.

    Regarding Chastain’s comments about Beuhler, I thought they were very mild and not that critical, and Solo was way out of line calling her on it. I’m not a fan of Chastain’s commentary, but Beuhler is an average-to-below-average center back for the international game who is extremely limited athletically and lacks technical ability that should be required at that level. If you watch USWNT games, many of the defensive breakdowns occur because of RB. That’s what Chastain should have said, and would have possibly justified Solo backing her teammate, but instead she took a chance to gain publicity over rather vanilla comments.


  • TheFrenchOne

    the greatest travesty of this entire interview? that jeremy schaap was the interviewer. i know this story goes beyond soccer, but i can’t bear to watch an interview led by someone who doesn’t regularly cover soccer.


  • whoop-whoop

    Considering almost none of the coverage she gets is soccer related, I suppose its appropriate.


  • Scott

    One of my hard and fast soccer rules is:
    1. Goal keepers are always at least a little off in the head.
    My 2nd rule is:
    2. A good goal keeper is worth a little crazy…a great keeper is worth a whole lot of crazy.


  • GW

    Not all dance teachers teach like that. Every pupil is different. A good teacher usually figures out beforehand what is acceptable and what is not. DWTS operates in a fairly compressed time frame so who knows how it all went down. Given what I have seen of such teachers, if you think Solo’s teacher/partner wasn’t at least as big an ego maniac as she is, you obviously have never had any lessons from a top pro. Put two such people together and sometimes you get explosions.

    Objectively Solo is a pro athlete with a limited amount of time to carve out a career for herself before the spotlight leaves. Her sport is currently on life support in this country and even if it wasn’t it would pay pretty paltry wages in a comparative sense.
    Only a few of the USWNT women have Solo’s combination of looks, personality and athletic ability that give her the chance to develop an alternative career doing something else. She is just getting a head start on it. Look at where it got Michael Strahan.

    Given the expectations and demands this society lays on sports heroes/icons whatever you call them and the speed and ferocity with which we are willing to tear them to little pieces should they falter , I have zero problem with Solo using her entire arsenal to carve out a living for herself.

    Looking out for #1 is an American tradition and Solo is good at that. She may not be what the sport needs or wants but she is what the sport deserves.


  • GW

    Who cares? Ryan does. That is why he came out with a strong denial.

    I don’t know if you work in the USA. If you do and if that is truly your attitude towards physical contact between colleagues in the workplace, then you are a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    Go to your workplace and just try acting like Ryan allegedly did with a female colleague that you maybe don’t really get along with and see what happens.

    In this country, regardless of gender, touching a colleague at work in any manner but particularly one where there is room for misinterpretation ( two people alone, different genders ) is a bad idea.

    If this did happen Ryan was an idiot to ever be alone with Solo.


  • GW

    As I recall 99‘ers like Lilly were the people behind Solo’s shunning trauma. I remember following it at the time thinking that Solo was being treated with exquisite and exceptional cruelty. Boy they sure showed her didn’t they?

    Why are you surprised that she has no great love for them?


  • Korglass

    I watched the game that lead to the Twitter controversy. IMHO, Brandi is a poor commentator and was not up to speed on Team USA details. Her general criticism of the defense included the lack of communication across the back line. She then opined that the line players should not be shifted about from game to game by the coach. Uhh, Brandi, you could have checked the injury reports before commenting. Her comments were generally unfocused, rambling and annoying. I could not fathom why Brandi was on the broadcast, and that was before Hope created the controversy. Based on the broadcast, I’m inclined to give Hope the benefit of the doubt for defending her team and coach. Having said that, I agree that Hope is a drama queen.


  • GW

    For most of the sports world Brandi’s lasting claim to fame is as “the girl who took of her shirt”.

    Had she not been fortunate enough to take and make that winning penalty leading to her iconic moment (tell me there is a more iconic image of the USWNT?)would anyone even remember her?

    If Sara Whalen,Joy Fawcett, or Karla Overbeck had taken that penalty and then taken off their shirts, maybe they would as revered as Brandi. I would argue they
    were as good if not better players.

    Chastain is just like Solo in her desire to exploit her looks and celebrity. Solo just happens to be a little better at it and she is the new hot girl on the scene.


  • Andy

    Thinking Hope Solo is a self-involved, publicity-seeking annoyance does not make someone a misogynist. That’s just what she comes off as to a lot of people and that’s her mostly her own fault.

    Just like Terrell Owens, Rob Gronkowski, etc.


  • Andy

    Agreed. And also, thinking Hope Solo is a self-involved, publicity-seeking annoyance does not make anyone a misogynist. That’s just what she comes off as to a lot of people and that’s her mostly her own fault.

    Just like Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, Rob Gronkowski and dozens (or hundreds) of other male athletes.


  • GW


    Just because you know the game it doesn’t mean your commentary will convince anyone that you do.

    I guess you’ve never heard a former player serving as a commentator who sounded as if he was a complete idiot ( of course, I could not possibly be talking about Alexi or Taylor or Eric or Harksie).

    Somewhere, deep down, I know those guys know more about the game than I ever will but if going by their commentary, I have a hard time believing it.


  • GW

    Why do you assume she is the one exaggerating?

    It seems like nothing can be proved either way so it’s 50/50.


  • GW

    I have never seen a defense so incapable of simply clearing a ball. It is also an immobile defense.

    Without Abby, Alex, Blondie and Solo this team is unexceptional.


  • RB

    Why in the world does this debate keep happening? I mean why does anybody given a damn?

    Solo does a fantastic job keeping the ball out of the net. She was strangely benched and we got trounced; she was put back in and we won 2 Olympic golds and nearly a WC in between. As Dizzy Dean said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you do it.”

    And by the way, that’s her job to do, not be a wonderfully affable public figure. She has the chance to capitalize on her fame and go on DWTS or do interviews and promote a book, more power to her. Nobody rational fan can begrudge any female soccer athlete or world class caliber that, given the piss-poor situation society is giving such women in their chosen profession, especially as compared to the mountains of money awaiting even many of their less stellar male counterparts

    If you don’t like her or don’t want to watch her dance or read her book or listen to her comments, just don’t.


  • bryan

    People like T.O., Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson, Gronkowski, and Solo can get away with running their mouth. Look at their careers. T.O. is 2nd all-time in receiving, Johnson holds all Bengals receiving records, Gronkowki holds all single-season TE records. And Solo is a multi-time Gold Medalist.


  • brandnewday

    I think Hope Solo is right about Women’s soccer changing from 1999. In 1999, women’s soccer would put me to sleep in five seconds. In 2012, it takes six seconds. By the way, I think it is wonderful that are colleges are spending millions of dollars on women’s soccer programs while cutting the budgets for the Computer Science, campus police, building maintenance, janitor staff, and health center staff. God Bless Title IX, women’s sports are the key to beating China and India in the world economy. Thank you feminist!!!!


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