U.S. Women's National Team

Solo book sheds light on Ryan altercation, team reaction to Chastain tweets


Photo by ISIphotos.com

U.S. women's national team goalkeeper Hope Solo left quite the impression on this summer's Olympics, between her controversial tweets about former U.S. great and television analyst Brandi Chastain and her two massive saves against Japan in the Olympic final that helped the U.S. women capture gold for a third straight time.

With her book, "SOLO: A Memoir of Hope," hitting the shelves, new information involving Solo's most infamous moments have come to light, including one in which she claims she was physically shoved by a former coach.

Solo wrote that former U.S. women's national team coach Greg Ryan shoved her during a 2007 meeting after her outburst at his decision to bench her in favor of Brianna Scurry against Brazil in that summer's World Cup. Ryan vehemently denied the accusations.

"This allegation is completely false," Ryan, the current women's coach at the University of Michigan, said in a statement. “I did not shove or push Hope as I've been accused in her book. I would have been terminated immediately by U.S. Soccer had this allegation been true. I have openly discussed the contents of the meeting and this is the first time that this accusation has been brought to light.”

In the epilogue to her book, Solo goes into detail about the Olympics, specifically addressing the pointed tweets at Chastain, whom she criticized for her inadequate commentary during this summer's competition. Solo was chastised for creating an unnecessary distraction, but as she puts it, what she said was what her teammates were thinking, and it created more of a cohesion among the U.S. women than anything else.

In excerpts obtained by ESPNW, Solo wrote: "I knew that would get a reaction, but I felt that someone needed to stand up to Brandi. She had a microphone and an international platform. Why couldn't I voice my opinion? That's the beauty of social media. When the tweets came across everyone's Twitter feed, the bus erupted with cheers.

"'Hell yeah, Hope,'" my teammates cried. Christie Pearce Rampone and Abby Wambach and others offered up high fives. "'Somebody finally said it,'" they said. It was a bonding moment for our team.

"When Pia met with reporters later, on Sunday, after meeting with me and the captains, she was asked if I was going to be disciplined or if I had been reprimanded. That made me laugh. Our meeting was about what we were doing in training. Pia told me that she, in fact, did press mute when she watched the games of ours that Brandi worked from the booth. My teammates shared the opinions that I had voiced on Twitter. We were tighter than ever."


What do you think of these developments? What do you make of Solo's latest comments about the Chastain fiasco?

Share your thoughts below.

  • The Imperative Voice

    Also at a meta level it’s worth noting that after it became a Solo-Chastain fracas the “but they tied France and looked vulnerable” (tough team, mind you, but you don’t necessarily know that big picture until the tournament plays out more) tighter focus on the team disappeared. That probably gets the team out of the ratchet effect of the press (replaced by Solo), and they ultimately get their results. Sometimes coaches lash out at refs, leagues, opposing teams, or players for the same purpose. The press will come back if the problems persist but in this case she arguably bought her team breathing room by making it personal. And the expression of what everyone else was thinking may have had a unifying effect.


  • jya

    Iker Casillas isn’t crazy or egotistical yet he is among the best. People always say you need to be egotistical to be at the top but several athletes have reached the top without ego’s that are out of proportion in the end skill is what you need to reach the top not a specific personality trait


  • Tyler

    You were watching Piers Morgan and are complaining about someone being full of themselves….


  • jya

    So he either goes through all the hassle of having to lawyer up or Hope is right great logic


  • Brain Guy

    +1. I found Chastain’s commentary sort of vapid and pointless, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary. As to the specific criticism that got Solo so upset, they may or may not have been right, and Solo has every right to disagree, but she did so in an unprofessional and attention-seeking way.

    The accusation about Ryan is of an entirely different, and much more serious, sort. It will be interesting to see what her teammates have to say about that one.


  • jon

    i have no problems with players occassionally taking pokes at the media, but with hope’s comments about chastain, I just didn’t get it. Chastain had a couple of very soft criticisms and then Hope’s tweets were so vitriolic and disproportionate. She’s an egomanical headcase. But a hell of goalie, so it doesn’t really matter. Not buying the book though


  • Tyler

    I don’t buy his argument at all about US Soccer kicking him out. As a Chicago Fire fan, our coach punched our All-Star center back in the face in front of the entire team and the team sent the PLAYER away.


  • happyjuggler0


    The haters here need to grow up quite frankly. The notion that the media shouldn’t be criticized by the athletes they cover is absurd.

    Oh by the way, she is the greatest female keeper in the world. Period. The people who want to bench her are off the scale nuts!!!


  • biff

    Whatever the truth of the matter is, when the “banned substances” news came out she got a free pass no questions asked and I hope now that she is throwing stones in a glass house that some news reporters finally ask her some very tough questions. As for Ryan accusations, who knows? But I would tend to think that if what she is now alleging is true that she would not have waited five years. I used to be a fan, but you can count me now as a member of the gang who is getting tired of her. Take a good look in those eyes at the picture at the top of this story and tell me what you see.


  • Judging Amy

    They are definitely better. Watch some of those old women’s games. The level of play is vastly improved now. Except the gap between the US and other teams isn’t as huge.


  • ricecloudnine

    The quality of the teams they are facing in the World Cups has also increased since 1999.


  • Judging Amy

    Agreed. The stodgy self-righteous pedants who seek to crucify athletes for comments made on twitter (freaking twitter) are hilarious to me. Are so many grown ups desperate for role models?


  • Chris in Des Moines

    Except the teams our women are playing now aren’t the patsies the 99 team faced. Any of the semifinalists in this year’s Olympic tournament would have pasted the 99 team. They only look as good as they do because they played against woefully inferior competition.


  • Judging Amy

    “I’m no feminist but I can understand why some people think men are afraid of women who speak their mind, don’t play politics and don’t give a damn what other people think. That insecurity permeates this thread.

    Besides, *most* people are scared to death of *anybody* who has the kind of character Solo has. People with that kind of character inspire jealously among the “haters” because the “haters” secretly wish they had the kind of courage Solo displays.”

    I think this will strike a lot of raw nerves but I suspect you are spot on with these comments.


  • Cesar

    Finally some one said it,USA is being playing women sport way before any other country.


  • Seriously

    Exactly. People should really mind their own damn business. Solo can say whatever she wants and there is no need to be up in arms about it. It doesn’t affect us one bit, but if she isn’t in goal and we lose a game I imagine there would be plenty of people who are emotionally affected by that. People like to have their cake and eat it too though.


  • The Imperative Voice

    I have the same feeling about the people criticizing Balotelli, Tevez, and Jones. The mainstreaming of the first two as the season progressed led to Man City’s title as opposed to second place, which is where they were headed when Mancini was being a prig. And as long as Jones can generally stay on a field and avoid suspension, he makes the USA better.

    I say this as someone who got one red card my whole 11-man career, playing physically and letting refs know what I thought. If you know where the line is you’ll usually be alright pushing up to it. Chad Johnson is across the line. etc etc.

    In a realtime mass media culture I think you have a right to push back on bad or inaccurate press. If Solo feels Chastain is being unprofessional, does she have to play by the marquis of queensbury rules herself? Most of the teams I’ve played on that are over-concerned with sportsmanship tend to be defensively soft and mediocre. My college team was a great bunch of guys with little clue how to win a tight game. Sometimes you need a jerk or two willing to do the dirty work, eg, win the ball with a hard tackle in midfield and head it back the other way, rather than waiting for an unforced error like an errant pass or dribble. Klinsi said as much about Jones.


  • Primoone

    Yeah, nothing more in the world I would want than to sit for another 90 minutes of that dipstick screaming like a wicked Banshee everytime there is an exciting play…

    F Brandi


  • Seriously?

    Also agree with JC, she’s a selfish b****, who can’t even handle constructive criticism. Just because she’s a gifted athlete doesn’t mean she’s a good person. If the reason Ryan benched her for was so wrong (and I don’t think it was for her play), then her teammates would have supported her at the time, but they did not.


  • baldomero123

    Solo is a good keeper that saved us from a possible failure in our pursuit of Olympic gold.
    If DeCicco shoved her 10 years ago, what’s the big deal? Emotions run high in sports… Doesn’t look that she was incapacitated by that shove for a second, though. A big, strong girl. DeCicco was lucky to survive that altercation.
    Chastain and her generation played soccer that looked a little bit more attractive for me, but maybe just because the general level of competition in the female game was lower then. Michele Ackers, though, is still head and shoulders above anybody. But Solo, Lloyd, Morgan, Wambach, Rapinoe would strengthen that team, if this kind of scientific/futuristic experimentation could be imagined.
    If only Chastain was at least half as excitable in the talking booth as she was in a sports bra, I wouldn’t mind her color commentary. But alas! She talks, talks, talks, she pisses in her pants with her enthusiasm, she roots for our girls, and nevertheless, she is still completely vapid, trait and monotonous. She is not a lonely failure in this business and her – and others – deficiencies as a commentator are worth discussion. We wouldn’t have it if not for Solo’s twitter attack, which was predictably devoid of substance and abundantly emotional.


  • Juan

    BINGO… our defense does suck and Canada exposed it.

    Hope has a big mouth and should learn to just shut it sometimes. Brandy is hurting nobody and the team doesnt need Hope to say anything


  • Paula

    Jeez guys — as if there never existed before Hope Solo an elite athlete who was also burdened with ego.

    I take the good with the bad. She backs up her talk with being the best in her profession.


  • ben in el cajon

    Absolutely, plus, she has the single best name possible in English for a ‘keeper. Seriously, what could be more apt?


  • Limey

    She is very annoying and a complete narcissist. I recommend she speaks less and does more naked photo shoots. Just one man’s opinion!


  • There's still Hope

    I’ve got two daughters and that ostracizing behaviour is very typical with groups of women. Guys throw a punch roll around a little and then it’s over. Girls are more subtle, meaner and far more vindictive.


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