Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

Women's soccer great Hope Solo gets six-month suspension

U.S. Soccer suspended Hope Solo, one of the best goal­keepers in the world and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, for six months for what it called "conduct that is counter to the organization's principles."

The federation terminated Solo's contract with the national team, meaning the 35-year-old might've played her last game for the United States.

An appeal is planned.

The suspension was a direct result of comments Solo made after the United States was eliminated at the Rio Olympics by Sweden. She assailed the Swedes' tactics, calling them "a bunch of cowards."

"Taking into consideration the past incidents involving Hope, as well as the private conversations we've had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a U.S. national team member, U.S. Soccer determined this is the appropriate disciplinary action," U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said Wednesday in a statement.

U.S. Soccer said coach Jill Ellis and chief executive Dan Flynn informed Solo of her suspension in person in Seattle.

In 2014 Solo was charged with assaulting two family members, and she served a 30-day ban last year after her husband, former Bucs tight end Jerramy Stevens, was charged with DUI while he and Solo were in a borrowed team van.

Solo, who gets three months of severance pay, tweeted: "For 17 years I dedicated my life to the women's national team and did the job of a pro athlete the only way I knew how — with passion, tenacity and 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. … With so much more to give, I am saddened by the federation's decision.''

Only two exhibition matches are scheduled before the ban ends in February 2017. But with the team regrouping, dropping Solo even temporarily could mean it's moving on.

Rich Nichols, general counsel for the team's players association, called the suspension "excessive, unprecedented, disproportionate, and a violation of Solo's First Amendment rights. We also question whether this … would ever have been taken against a male player or coach."

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