By JOSE M. ROMERO
The U.S. women’s national team kicks off a five-city exhibition tour in Portland, Ore., on Wednesday night against Ireland, and it’s already a media circus with outspoken goalkeeper (and Northwest native) Hope Solo in town.
Solo’s off-field personal matters overshadowed the arrival of the Olympic gold medalists on Tuesday. Solo addressed questions about her marriage to former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens, a former college classmate at the University of Washington, and an incident involving the two on the night of their wedding.
Stevens, whose several courtroom appearances in years past likely contributed in some part to the derailment of his football career, was arrested on a charge of domestic violence but released due to lack of evidence two weeks ago. Solo, in saying she is happily married, denied ever being hit in her life and said she wouldn’t put up with domestic violence.
(Update: Stevens was arrested for probation violation on Wednesday in Florida.)
As for the USWNT, the appreciation tour that is a spinoff of the team’s wild success at the London Olympics rolls through Portland’s Jeld-Wen Field before moving on to Glendale, Ariz., against Ireland on Saturday night.
More information after the jump:
Jill Ellis, women’s development director for U.S. Soccer, will coach the team after Pia Sundhage’s recent departure. New coach Tom Sermanni takes over in January 2013.
Game time is set for 10 p.m. ET at Jeld-Wen Field, the home of the MLS Portland Timbers. The game can be seen on FOX Soccer.
The USWNT goes from the Phoenix area to Detroit, Houston and Boca Raton, Fla., for matches later in December.