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Solo blasts Chastain on Twitter

HopeSolo (Getty)

Less than two hours after the U.S. Women's National team rolled to a 3-0 victory against Colombia in Olympic action, U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo took to Twitter for a surprising barrage of critical tweets aimed at former U.S. Women's national team defender and NBC color TV analyst Brandi Chastain.

Here is just one of Solo's Twitter daggers thrown at Chastain:

“I feel bad 4 our fans that have 2 push mute, especially bc @arlowhite is fantastic.@brandichastain should be helping 2 grow the sport #fb”


Here is my FOX Soccer piece breaking down the Solo Twitter rant. Give the piece a read and let us know what you think. Was Solo out of line, or was her reaction justified because of Chastain's criticisms of the U.S. national team?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Moe, I chalk up what Solo said about Scurry to a competitive athlete wearing her heart on her sleeve. I work as a free-lance sportswriter so I deal with athletes on a constant basis. I can well understand how somebody can resent being passed over by someone viewed as inferior.

    Yes, Solo needs to put mind in gear before mouth in motion. But the “punishment” did not fit the “crime.” By trying to isolate and shun her, her teammates made more of Solo’s comments than otherwise.

    I think there’s a lot more to this than just a few tweets. I think some people in the national women’s program (beyond Solo) deeply resent some of the 99ers because of the way the latter carry themselves. I’ve interviewed Chastain and she’s quite arrogant. That probably comes across in her commentary. I think there’s a lot of excessive reverence for the 99ers, that they can do no wrong because of what they did and what “pioneers” they were. I think a lot of us are tired of that storyline.

    Personally, I think what women’s soccer needs is another “Ball Four,” the kind of book that Jim Bouton wrote exposing the underbelly of the sport. I hope Solo’s upcoming biography does just that.

  2. Agree with the content of Solo’s comments, don’t agree with the avenue in which she expressed them and certainly don’t agree with the timing.

    In terms of what she said, she’s not wrong. Chastain displays a lot of the “in my day we were better, here’s what we would have done and why it should be that way” attitude that is typical of ex-players (aka, the Joe Morgan syndrome) who can’t recognize that the game as it currently exists is totally different than the game they played.

    Still, the timing of the comments and the venue she used to make them just adds an unnecessary distraction. Tell your teammates you have their back in private, play your game and then if you feel the need to make those comments after the Olympics, fine. Why now? What good does it do? Chastain won’t be taken off the broadcasts, I highly doubt she’ll change her style, and now your teammates will have to spend time answering “What do you think of Hope’s comments?” instead of “How are you preparing for the quarterfinals?”

  3. biff, the two incidents are completely different. See my response to b about the 2007 WWC, when Solo’s “teammates” tried to destroy her after she spoke her mind about Scurry. I think this is personal animosity between Solo and Chastain. Otherwise, why would Solo make four tweets about the same comment? I admire Solo’s honesty. She calls it like she sees it and she’s not a politician like Foudy or Lalas — and, btw, I don’t really care what she looks like. But she needs to learn to be more discreet.

    Besides, if Wambach is the “heart and soul” of the team, then the team is in big trouble. Wambach is a bully and a suck-up to authority. She demonstrated that in China five years ago, and she demonstrated that when she coached MagicJack last year.

  4. How is Hope Solo watching the game? Does she have cable in the goal? or is she watching on her Iphone. Anyway I think she should be concentrating on the game. Distracted goal keeping will not get the gold medal.

  5. b, this was the situation in 2007:

    Solo started every match in the 2007 WWC until the semifinals, when Scurry started against Brazil, because then-coach Greg Ryan thought Scurry would play better, based on Scurry’s past experience against Brazil.

    Well, Scurry was awful and Brazil won handily. In the mixed zone afterward, an emotional Solo said that she would have stopped the shots that Scurry missed. To me, that’s nothing but a competitive athlete wearing her heart on her sleeve.

    But almost all of her teammates (led by Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach) decided to isolate Solo (whether under Ryan’s orders or on their own initiative; it really doesn’t matter). They forced her to eat by herself. They refused to let her train with the team. They prevented her from starting in the third-place game. They made her fly home by herself. They even shunned her during a post-tournament U.S. tour.

    That is not imposing discipline. That is trying to destroy somebody’s spirit and soul — especially when that somebody’s father died months before the WWC.

    The only exception, to my knowledge, was Carli Lloyd, who encouraged Solo to “stay strong.” Carli is the only player from that 2007 squad, except for Solo, whom I respect.

    Besides, if you want to know what kind of a sellout Wambach is and how she sucks up to authority, just google her name along with “Dan Borislaw” and “Ella Mazar” and see what comes up.

  6. Roy,

    As I said you you are confused or maybe not getting the point.

    Brandi’s contributions to US soccer do not mean diddly in this context. Bruce Arena did as much if not more for US soccer than her and I would not listen to his commentary for one second.

    I’m not criticising Brandi for being honest. Colombia are crap and the US played down to their level. It was about as much fun to watch as Kelly’s Bills losing some of those Super Bowl blowouts.

    It was a crap game to watch and Brandi did not enliven it at all. She does not tell a story, negative, postive or neutral, well. And that is how you judge her work, not by how much she has done for the game.

    I don’t care about Solo. She may be a PR disaster waiting to happen but along with Morgan and Abby, she keeps the media interested in this bunch of underachievers and the myth that they are a good team.

    Being something of a loose cannon works well in this era of ESPN encouraged and manufactured, phony “edginess”.

  7. Soft announcers don’t help either. My point is not that commentators should improve the team, but former nats players inherently want the team better. I’ve worked in sports media, and I’ve seen blatant cheerleaders and critical former players. In newsrooms it was also obvious which reporter favored a particular team. Yet fans would attack the reporters for honest but professional critiques of the team, and the attacks would state the reporter would hate the team.

    I remember when Jim Kelly, former Bills quarterback, retired and became an announcer. He didn’t last long even though he was polite and professional. The reason he didn’t make it was that he couldn’t turn a critical eye on his former NFL colleagues. Chastain is criticized for being honest, which supposedly hurts the game. What should annoy us is Chastain’s style, not her honesty. I’d still take a good critique from an annoying person rather than useless babbling from a likable commentator. I think Chastain has done more for the sport than Solo, and I’d argue that Chastain and her group are underappreciated for growing the sport back when the fan base was smaller.

    I want Solo to succeed, but she is a walking PR nightmare waiting to happen.

  8. There is a fine line between enthusiasm when a goal is scored, and unwarranted hyperbole which is exhibited by Gus. Still, he’s better than San Jose’s current home announcers.

  9. “Solo is right but that doesn’t make her actions appropriate. Find a better way to deal with your problems.”

    Precisely. Being right in this case does not excuse creating an off the field distraction for your team. Focus on the game, you’re playing in the Olympics, time to focus up!

  10. Does anyone else think it strange that the first thing Solo does after the game is sit and watch a replay and listen to the commentary? I understand reviewing “game tape” but I thought that was kind of odd.

    Oh, and Gus Johnson should replace Arlo White.

  11. Roy,

    You are a bit confused.

    It is not the job of TV commentators to make the team better.

    The USSF pays a bunch a people a lot of money to spend all their time doing that.

    No one said “Here, tell us what you think and based on your commentary we will make appropriate changes”.

    They are there to entertain and educate us.

    Do you seriously think there is anyone on this site who does not realise that Buehler giving the ball away so cheaply is a bad thing? Or that the Colombians do not have the same level of fitness as the US players?
    The fact that Brandi’s criticisms were accurate is not the point.

    What is the point is that she has annoying way of expressing them and since she is there for entertainment and education purposes she fails at both since she is not interesting to listen to and she cannot educate if no one wants to listen to her.

    This is where Lalas, Harkes and Wynalda fail. Whatever makes sense in their commentary, whatever wisdom is there is either devalued or ignored because they are such obnoxious clowns. You don’t go to a freak show to get educated.

  12. jim,

    If you are an American then I guess you have to take it seriously. However, since you are dead and buried (even if it is in France) I guess it really doesn’t matter anymore to you.

  13. That does not mean he had a great career. And they lost too.

    I don’t necessarily agree with the Brits that Harkes was a flop. He was on teams that had a couple of good cup runs but I don’t think he was an exceptional player. His commentary would have more credibility if he had gone on to be a really good coach but he hasn’t.

  14. Solo should play keeper and keep her comments to herself. If she has a problem with Chastain, she should talk to her, NOT the rest of the world.

    This is the same kind of public spouting off that got her in trouble a few years ago. Will she ever learn?

  15. No one watches because Chastain is in the booth. Find a woman who is well spoken and knowledgeable of the game to provide the color instead of a has-been who can’t let her spotlight go. There has to be someone out there who can do the job without being as annoying as these former stars have been.

    Solo is right but that doesn’t make her actions appropriate. Find a better way to deal with your problems.

  16. Wow, 60 comments on the twitter incident but only 17 comments about the actual game. This illustrates the loud mouths on this board that don’t know anything about women’s soccer.

  17. @b So did you even watch the game? I doubt it. And read my comments and tell me where I said she is a good commentator? Are you putting words in my mouth? I’m saying that her commentary on Buehler was correct. She knows the players better than the incompetent Arlen White.

    Who would you suggest to replace her?

  18. Someone better tell all those NFL guys to calm down. Don’t they know that what they’re doing isn’t important, since only one country plays their sport?

  19. the best comments so far on this topic, bb and Roy, especially pointing out how silly it is to be justifying Hope’s tweets as magnanimously sticking up for her teammates. The US ladies are no doubt one of the top teams in the world. The team can survive defensive lapses against Colombia and still move on to the quarter-finals. But USWNT defensive lapses in the knock-out stages against the likes of Brazil or Japan can mean flying home without a medal. Now is the time for the team to do what is needed to rectify those sorts of defensive lapses–and that means being professional and accepting criticism and trying to improve before the big tests of Japan and Brazil. Like Roy says, “ Hugs and kisses won’t make the US teams better.”

    I have always been a fan of Hope Solo. Before these tweets yesterday I had always defended her outspoken comments against the poor coaching decisions of Greg Ryan in WC2007. But after these tweets I am beginning to rethink that episode a bit, and I can now for the first time understand why some of her teammates then were not happy with her, including the great Abby Wambach, the heart and soul of the current team. After the recent news about Hope, she needs to keep her head down and focus on winning gold, not creating off-field controversies that could possibly disrupt the team. A first step toward that goal would be a heartfelt public apology to commentators, whose job it is to comment, and to her teammates. And she should turn off her smartphone for the rest of the Olympics and do her talking only on the field.

  20. I love it when commentators and journalists get called out by athletes. Just as they have the right to report the way they see things, the athletes have the freedom to respond.

  21. For those who don’t follow the women’s team as closely:

    1. What did Solo say about Scurry, and why?
    2. How did her 07 teammates try to destroy Solo, and why?
    3. Who were those teammates?

  22. You are the only person who thinks Chastain is a good commentator or analyst. Fortunately your bias is easy enough to see through for anyone who has never had the misfortune of listening to Chastain cover a game…

  23. During the whole match I couldn’t help but think how awful a secondary commentator BC was. She never let up and really polluted the broadcast. There was never a moment where I could just watch and take in the game. BC’s commentary was mostly her projecting her would-be coaching tips to the team and had nothing to do with how USWNT and Colombia were playing. I even remember her saying something along the lines that she wasn’t familiar with Colombia at all. Completely unprofessional.

    She had some OK points sometimes, but that’s expected when you blabber on non-stop for the full 90.

    Hope Solo was out of line and unprofessional with her tweets, but there is a ton of truth at where she was getting at.

  24. That’s hilarious… I’m sure South Koreans wouldn’t be as offended as their communist and oppressed counterparts if they were represented by a flag that is the symbol of a unjustified separation of, not just a nation, but of thousands of families torn from one another.

    I know comment sections on any blog are just forums for the ignorant, but sarcasm lost in text or not, this comment makes my skin boil.


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