Hope Solo, the American goalkeeper with a history of off-field problems, has been suspended by the U.S. Soccer Federation for 30 days and will miss the women’s national team matches against France and England next month.
“During our current national team camp, Hope made a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. Soccer and her teammates,” said U.S. Coach Jill Ellis. “We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.”
Solo will be eligible for reinstatement to the team after 30 days, pending review and approval by the federation and Ellis, the USSF said in a news release.
The USSF did not cite a specific reason for the suspension, but it apparently stemmed from an incident earlier this week. At about 1 a.m. Monday morning, Solo’s husband Jerramy Stevens was charged with driving under the influence in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Solo, who has attended U.S. training camp for the past two weeks, was a passenger in the car but not charged.
TMZ, which broke the story, said Solo was “acting belligerent” toward police officers and nearly arrested as well.
The USSF’s action came just a week after domestic violence charges against Solo were dismissed.
It marks the first time since the 2007 Women’s World Cup, when Solo criticized then coach Greg Ryan in a postgame TV interview, that the team or federation has taken action against Solo.
In a prepared statement, Solo said: “I accept and respect the federation’s decision, and more importantly, I apologize for disappointing my teammates, coaches and the federation who have always supported me. I think it’s best for me to take a break, decompress from the stress of the last several months and come back mentally and physically ready to positively contribute to the team.”
So why did the USSF act now and not when Solo was charged in the domestic case in Washington state?
At the time of the previous incident, she was not on U.S. duty and the facts were in dispute. The USSF decided to let the legal case run its course before deciding whether to discipline her, a stance criticized by many observers as a double standard in the wake of the Ray Rice-NFL controversy.
In the most recent case, Solo was on U.S. assignment.
Stevens, a former NFL tight end, has a long list of legal and disciplinary issues, including an assault charge involving Solo in November 2012. The case was dismissed, and the same day, the couple was married.
Solo, 33, is a two-time Olympic gold medalist who plays professionally for the NWSL’s Seattle Reign. She remains one of the most highly regarded goalkeepers in the world and was on course to start for the United States at the Women’s World Cup this summer in Canada.
As part of their preparations, the Americans will play at France on Feb. 8 and at England five days later. In March, they will compete in the Algarve Cup in Portugal, then play one home friendly in April and three home games in May. The World Cup will kick off June 6 with the United States and Germany as the early favorites.