Hope Solo spoke out in a statement on Wednesday, August 24, after U.S. Soccer announced it was suspending her and terminating her contract after her outburst following a game at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“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,” Solo, 35, wrote in a statement posted on Twitter on Wednesday. “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.”
As Us Weekly previously reported, the U.S. Women’s soccer team goalkeeper was suspended on Wednesday for six months after she called the Swedish team “a bunch of cowards” following Team USA’s loss in the quarterfinals at the Rio Olympics on August 12.
“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,” Solo’s statement 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.”
Solo, who is one of the most decorated players in U.S. soccer history, has represented the U.S. at three Olympic Games, winning two gold medals, and three straight World Cups, but she will not be eligible to play for the U.S. Women’s National Team until February 2017.
Rich Nichols, the general counsel for the players’ association of the women’s national team, called the goalkeeper’s suspension “excessive, unprecedented, disproportionate and a violation of Ms. Solo’s First Amendment rights,” The New York Times reports.
“She was fired for making comments that a man never would have been fired for,” he added and told the Times that he plans to file a grievance on her behalf on Thursday, August 25.
“If Hope Solo is getting six months for calling a team ‘cowards’ what does Ryan Lochte get for inciting an international incident?” tweeted New York sports reporter Nick Filipowski.
This isn’t Solo’s first suspension. She was benched for 30 days in 2015 for an incident at the U.S. team’s training camp.
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