Hope Solo has lost more than just a match after calling the Swedish women’s soccer team “a bunch of cowards” during the 2016 Rio Olympics. The U.S. women’s national team’s goalkeeper has been suspended for six months by the U.S. Soccer Federation for the comments she made.
“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,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a statement Wednesday (August 24, 2016). “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.”
U.S. Soccer has also terminated Solo’s contract with the national team. She will not be eligible to play again for the U.S. women’s soccer team until February 2017. However, she can still play in the National Women’s Soccer League.
In her own statement Solo, a two-time Olympic medalist, expressed that she is “saddened” by U.S. Soccer’s decision.
“For 17 years, I dedicated my life to the U.S. Women’s National Team and did the job of a pro athlete the only way I knew how — with passion, tenacity, an unrelenting commitment to be the best goalkeeper in the world, not just for my country, but to elevate the sport for the next generation of female athletes,” the 35-year-old tweeted following the announcement. “In those commitments, I have never wavered. And with so much more to give, I am saddened by the Federation’s decision to terminate my contract.”
“I could not be the player I am without being the person I am, even when I haven’t made the best choices or said the right things,” she continued. “My entire career, I have only wanted the best for this team, for the players and the women’s game and I will continue to pursue these causes with the same unrelenting passion with which I play the game.”
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) August 25, 2016
The disciplinary action comes after Solo made an unsportsmanlike remark about her opponents after an upset loss to Sweden in the Olympic quarterfinals.
“We played a creative game. We had many opportunities on goal. We showed a lot of heart. We came back from a goal down. I’m very proud of this team,” she said in a post-game interview. “We played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I strongly, firmly believe that.”
Solo was previously suspended for 30 days in 2015 after police pulled her and husband Jerramy Stevens over. At the time, authorities claimed the athlete had acted belligerently.