The United States Soccer Federation suspended women's national team goalkeeper Hope Solo on Wednesday, citing "conduct that is counter to the organization's principles," and then took the extra step of terminating her national team contract on top of it.
This comes on the heels of her rants against the Sweden national team following the USWNT's abrupt exit in the 2016 Olympics quarterfinals at their hands. That said, while the comments may have been the direct trigger of the suspension, the full statement makes it seem as though this is as much about her accumulation of issues in the past years as what she said in Brazil.
The suspension for Solo, who was previously suspended for 30 days early in 2015 for her conduct, is effective immediately.
"The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.
"Taking into consideration the past incidents involving Hope, as well as the private conversations we’ve had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a U.S. National Team member, U.S. Soccer determined this is the appropriate disciplinary action."
As a result of the suspension, Solo would not be eligible for selection to the U.S. Women’s National Team until February of 2017.
Solo has made a number of controversial and inflammatory statements over the years, and has had multiple run-ins with the law. With that history, coupled with her form declining as she hits the later years of her career, many fans have been wondering if the USWNT should move on from Solo anyway, especially with Alyssa Naeher and Ashlyn Harris stepping up in recent years.
Initial reports only indicated the suspension, which raised a few eyebrows among critics of Solo and the national team's support of her -- after all, they only have two matches scheduled for the rest of the year (though they'll likely add a few more friendlies) and she would only miss a couple of friendlies in the first two months of 2017. Terminating her contract, however, goes an extra mile and makes a much greater statement as to how seriously US Soccer is treating this situation. This leaves the strong implication that she'll have to earn her way back into the organization's good graces rather than just walking back into the USWNT.
Solo was allowed to finish the season with Seattle Reign of the NWSL, but has opted not to re-join the team, issuing a statement six days after her suspension was announced. Solo said that she felt it was best for the team for them to finish the season with another goalkeeper.
Hope Solo's full statement on not playing again for Seattle Reign FC this NWSL season: pic.twitter.com/H89YjlaTnj— Jeff Kassouf (@JeffKassouf) August 30, 2016
The USWNT Players Association intends to appeal the decision, calling the discipline "excessive," "unprecedented," and "disproportionate." Naturally, this will be far from the last we hear on this matter.