Solo doubled down Tuesday, just before the Americans faced England in the World Cup semifinals. Writing for the BBC’s website, Solo said the Lionesses “have the better manager, tactically” and called Phil Neville “a true leader.”
“He takes responsibility and he shows courage. He’s a coach I would have loved to play for,” she wrote. “He holds his players to account and everybody wants to step up to the plate and perform under his leadership.”
The antipathy shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: Ellis was the Americans’ coach in 2016 when U.S. Soccer terminated Solo’s national team contract after she called Sweden’s players “cowards” because of their overly defensive tactics in a penalty-kick win over the United States at the Rio Olympics. Ellis backed the federation, noting in a statement that “Hope’s postgame comments forced us to make a significant decision” and that the banishment was the result of “a sum total of actions that have unfortunately shone a negative light on our program.”
Apart from the “cowards” comment, Solo also was arrested on a domestic violence charge in 2014 over an incident involving her sister and nephew and was the passenger in a U.S. Soccer team vehicle when her husband, former NFL player Jerramy Stevens, was arrested on a DUI charge in 2015.
Things certainly have changed since 2012, when Ellis served as the team’s interim coach for a series of friendlies and was lauded by Solo as a Neville-esque “true leader” on Twitter:
And since 2014, when U.S. Soccer hired Ellis as its full-time national women’s team coach and Solo seemed pretty happy about it:
So happy that Jill Ellis is our new HC! She's been around our program for years & has everyone's respect. Couldn't think of a better choice!— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) May 16, 2014
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