On Monday, Hope Solo made headlines again when she slammed Women’s World Cup champion Brandi Chastain over her comments about Team USA’s chances at winning the gold in the 2012 London Olympics. But outspokenness isn’t anything new for Solo, who is quick to defend herself, her teammates and her sport. Us Weekly has unearthed the need-to-know details about the 30-year-old goalie.
1. She’s a published author. Set to release two days after the 2012 London Olympics wrap, Solo: A Memoir of Hope isn’t just about life in the goalpost. The memoir digs deep down into her extremely strained relationship with her father, who was convicted of embezzlement when she was an infant, and whom she reunited with when she was in college.
2. Colleges were after her for her brains and her talent. According to her bio on the University of Washington’s women’s soccer page, the speech communications major graduated from high school with a 3.7 GPA and was sought out by several schools, including Santa Clara and University of Virginia, before deciding on the Washington’s Huskies.
3. She’s a bit of a hot head. After her coach, Greg Ryan, sat her out of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinals and as a result suffered a 0-4 loss against Brazil, Solo criticized his judgment, calling it “the wrong decision.” She was benched for the rest of the season.
4. Companies see her as an asset to their ad campaigns. Since the 2011 World Cup, Solo has landed endorsement deals with major brands like Bank of America, Nike, and Gatorade.
5. Us Weekly readers may know her best as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Joining the hoards of Olympians-turned-DWTS stars like Apolo Ohno, Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson and Kristi Yamaguchi, Solo traded her soccer cleats for dancing shoes on the the 13th season of the hit ABC competition. She and her partner pro, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, were eliminated during the semifinals; J.R. Martinez pulled through to be the fall 2011 champ.