Hope Solo is pretty much the Kobe for the United States’ women’s national soccer team. She’s great at what she does but controversial. Some people like her and some can’t deal with her. When she began to get noticed, most of the audience was rooting for her. Not only were her skills top-tier but there seemed to be this characteristic of hers that stood out in a good way.
Fast-forward, things changed with the Olympic soccer player. On June 21, 2014, Solo was arrested with two misdemeanor counts of assault. One was against her half-sister while the other was against her nephew.
She then continued to spark controversy in the media. In 2015, Solo was suspended for 30 days from the U.S. women’s national team. A source close to the team said it was a combination of things that caused her suspension including her run-in with the police earlier that week. Her husband, former Seahawks tight end, Jerramy Stevens, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence with Solo in the passenger seat. Although, she wasn’t arrested or detained, the team officials eventually found out and immediately took action. “During our current National Team camp, Hope made a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. Soccer and her teammates,” the coach said in the statement. “We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.”
In 2016, Solo made another poor choice during a really important time for the national women’s team. During the Olympics in Rio this year, the 35-year-old was suspended again for making comments after the defeat to Sweden in the quarter-finals. She had called her opponents “a bunch of cowards” during an interview. The International Olympic Committee said her comments were disappointing but wasn’t going to face the usual punishment. However, US Soccer decided to punish her by suspending her for six months in addition to terminating her national team contract.
So as you can see, just because you’re great at a sport and it shows your determination, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a great person all around. So below, we rounded up 15 things you had no idea about this controversial Olympic player. Find out what she is all about.
15. She Hates Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Hope Solo wrote in her book about her DWTS partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Not only is it shocking to find out he might have slapped her during rehearsals, but the fact that she has a book is just as shocking. Solo is a published author with Solo: A Memoir of Hope, released in 2012. Along with the accusations of Max, she also included her struggling relationship with her father, whom was convicted of embezzlement when she was an infant. It turned out she didn’t have a smooth childhood growing up. Solo also wrote about her romantic relationships with her exes as well as with her teammates and how some of them didn’t like each other in the beginning. She gets personal and entertaining in her memoir which many were eager to read to learn more about the player, especially with the release date following two days after the London Olympics ended.
14. Rough Childhood
In addition to her father being homeless and arrested later, her mother struggled with alcoholism while her brother was always getting into trouble at school. Because of the arrest of her father, the family eventually got into some financial problems which almost impacted Solo’s soccer career. At the time, she was playing for the national travel soccer team but she almost had to quit because her mother and step-father suggested it was too expensive to pay for. However, thanks to the community members, we wouldn’t see the Hope we watch on the field today if it wasn’t for their generosity and pitching in for her travel expenses. When it comes to her father, he was arrested for taking his kids, including Solo and her brother, on a trip without the permission of their mother. He was arrested in a Seattle Bank.
13. She Didn’t Want To Be A Goalkeeper
Throughout her childhood, Solo played forward on the fields. Not only did she enjoy it but it also lead her to a lot of success. In high school, she led her team to the championship and together, they were undefeated. But her career as a soccer forward didn’t last long. When she was trying out for the national team, they asked her to try out the goalie position and her talents were on full display. She turned out to be a skilled goalie and in their eyes, that was the position she needed to play. Since then, we’ve been watching Solo playing as the goalkeeper for the women’s national soccer team. It seems like the coaches knew what they were talking about considering her two gold medals and winning U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year in 2009, just to name a few.
12. She’s Kissed a Girl and Liked It
In her book, Solo opens up about her past relationships but she also decided to open up about that one time she kissed a French girl. Not too surprisingly, the women’s soccer league consists of a few bisexual and gay women which the Olympic soccer player explains she got used to. However, when she got the chance to be intimate with the same sex, she said she couldn’t pass because she wanted to see how it was on the “other side.” So when a French girl came up to her and basically hit on her, the 35-year-old gave in and let the two smooch for a little. She explains it wasn’t bad but it didn’t completely convert her. “I’d had gay teammates throughout my career,” Solo said. “I thought maybe I should see their side of things. So we made out. Interesting but not life-changing. I was straight.”
11. She’s a Party Girl
Apparently, Hope Solo gets really honest in her book, Solo: A Memoir of Hope, about being into partying and drinking. Specifically, she opened up about her time during training camp in southern California. She and a friend decided to take advantage and drive to Las Vegas for a night out of fun after a day of training then drove all the way back the next day for another training.
However, that’s nothing compared to 2008 when the U.S. team took home a gold medal and made an appearance on the Today show. During the broadcast, Solo and the rest of the team showed up with big smiles on their faces and talking uncontrollably, especially the U.S. soccer goalie. She had called the Olympics “the World Cup” and then quickly corrected herself, hoping no one noticed. She then told ESPN what had really happened that day. “When we were done partying, we got out of our nice dresses, got back into our stadium coats and, at 7 a.m., with no sleep, went on the Today Show drunk,” she told them. She also pointed out that her and her teammates had partied the night away with actor, Vince Vaughn. It’s no secret Solo loves to party and have a good time.
10. She Missed Her College Graduation To Play Soccer
In 2003, Hope Solo played for the Philadelphia Charge and missed her college graduation to play for them. She attended the University of Washington to play soccer when a bunch of other colleges were after her for her talent on the field but also for her academic brains. But she decided the best thing for her was to play as opposed to walking on stage and based on all her success, it looks like she did the right thing. Although she was passionate about her extracurricular activity, she was still an overachiever when it came to the books. She graduated from high school with a 3.7 GPA. Some of the schools that wanted her after seeing her achievements were Santa Clara and University of Virginia. However, she set her mind on the Washington Huskies in which she didn’t find the graduation too important after skipping it.
9. She Tested Positive for an Illegal Substance
In 2012, the US Anti-Doping Agency issued a public warning after Solo tested positive for a prohibited diuretic called Canrenone. Sole insisted on saying it was medication prescribed by a physician. “I took a medication prescribed by my personal doctor for pre-menstrual purposes that I did not know contained a diuretic,” she said. “Once informed of this fact, I immediately cooperated with USADA and shared with them everything they needed to properly conclude that I made an honest mistake, and that the medication did not enhance my performance in any way.” Because of the incident, she was almost unable to participate in the London Olympics. However, Solo got lucky and the USADA let her off without any further sanctions and only issuing a warning. “As someone who believes in clean sport, I am glad to have worked with USADA to resolve this matter and I look forward to representing my country at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.”
8. Her Career Almost Ended Due To an Injury
In 2010, the Olympic soccer player underwent reconstructive surgery after damaging her shoulder from years of playing soccer. The injury was so bad that it could have ended the athlete’s career. Solo was missing cartilage in her shoulder joint and the biceps tendon completely detached from the bone. And so, her procedure consisted of 11 different anchors put into place in order to stabilize the joint. After surgery, she was determined to get back to normal like it never happened. With that in mind, she had intense physical therapy and rebounded, winning the Golden Glove award in 2011. Being an athlete, that wasn’t her only injury but she did have more to deal with. In 2013, her wrist injury became a bigger worry. The goalkeeper was expected to miss three to four months after going through surgery. But things turned out okay when the player found out she was going to be able to play close to playoffs.
7. Her Father Taught Her to Play Soccer
Besides the downsides of her relationship with her father, they also have a good side to the story. Solo gives credit to her father for teaching her the ways to soccer at just five years old. Although he was in and out of her life, he was still an influence on her when it came to playing soccer. Her parents had divorced, though, when she was just six years old. Solo then reconnected with him when she enrolled at the University of Washington to play soccer. He continued to be a big motivator in her career despite all the drama, including the time when he got arrested for kidnapping her and her brother to go on a trip. Solo explained she thought the whole thing was innocent, thinking it was a mini vacation. But she soon realized it was more serious than what it seemed in the beginning. In June of 2007, her father, Jeffrey Solo, had a heart attack and passed away.
6. Solo Punched a Girl in the Face
Although it might be for good reason, Hope confessed about her boyfriend cheating on her with a “popular girl” in high school. He happened to be her first love and he cheated on her. The Olympic soccer player wrote in her book that as soon as she found out, she went up to her and punched her in the face. She said she called her a “f*cking sl*t” before she laid her hands on her. It seems like Solo has always had a temper and wild side. Moreover, she was accused of assault by her step-sister, Teresa Obert, and her 17-year-old son, while they were at a party in Washington State. “Hope Solo is going psychotic,” an unidentified caller told the police. “She’s f****** beating people up!” Obviously, knowing about her past about punching people in the face doesn’t really help her case. Perhaps, Solo should have kept it to herself considering she’s the one who brought it up.
5. She and Abby Wambach Didn’t Like Each Other
Just because you’re teammates, doesn’t mean you’re supposed to get along and like each other. Although, that does benefit the team, Solo thinks it’s best to just act cordial as opposed to pretending like you like each other. During the 2007 World Cup semifinal against Brazil, Abby Wambach told her coach, Greg Ryan, to bench Solo, according to the soccer goalie. She eventually found out and there was tension ever since. Sometimes it would even show on the field where they didn’t show any kind of good sportsmanship. The two rarely interacted but in 2011, during the World Cup, they both gained mutual respect for each other in which Solo went on to call it a “détente.”
When Solo returned from her suspension that year, her teammates were happy to welcome her back, including Wambach. “Obviously she’s an experienced veteran on the team,” she said. “Whenever somebody comes back, you have to welcome them with open arms, especially right now when we’re in our push to the World Cup. We need our team to be at full strength. Whether it’s injury or suspension, we want to take care of our teammates. This would be no different.”
4. She Was Outcast By Her Teammates and Disliked Her Coach
Not only did she have a falling out with teammate, Abby Wambach, after she asked coach, Greg Ryan, to bench her but she’s also had some ups and downs with the rest of her teammates. Turns out it was for the same reason for lashing out at Ryan and Wambach. According to Solo, her teammates had outcast her including not allowing her to eat with them for lunch, or just hanging out together in general. Solo said she had to take a flight by herself from China back to the United States because the rest of the team didn’t want to go with her. Sounds a lot like high school if this is all true. The 35-year-old athlete also went ahead to talk negatively about Ryan. “If I had made a list of all the people I thought might coach the national team, Greg Ryan would probably have been dead last,” she wrote. “He mostly faded into the background, rarely talking and never taking charge at practice. If he had any leadership skills or technical savvy, I never saw it.”
3. She’s Still Really Wanted
Despite being disliked by her team and having a reputation for sparking controversy, Solo is still very much wanted in the media. It was after the 2012 London Olympics that turned her into this bankable athlete, increasing her numbers on social media which means increasing the number of endorsement deals. Some of the deals the soccer player has signed with are Nike, Blackberry, Gatorade and Bank of America. In March 2014, she signed on as “social media influencer” for Mobia and LX Ventures, Inc. The Olympic athlete has also gone on to be the cover of several magazines including for Fitness, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, TV Guide, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, and Vogue. But the most notable cover was when she appeared nude on the cover of The Body Issue of ESPN The Magazine. Solo had nothing but good words to say about the cover. “I’m an athlete, that’s all I am. If a sex symbol is now a top female athlete, I think that’s pretty amazing and it shows how far our country has come from the stick-thin models, from what you see in most magazines.”
2. Her Husband Was Arrested Right Before They Married
Hope Solo married former Seattle Seahawks tight end, Jerramy Stevens, after meeting in 2012. However, that was the same year Stevens was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Solo wasn’t arrested or detained but she was left injured because of an apparent altercation between the two. The former NFL player was released after there wasn’t enough evidence to hold him. On the very next day, the two decided to marry. They are still married to this day despite all the drama that has followed the national soccer player. In 2013, Solo took to Twitter to defend her husband after being arrested for the second time that month. He was being investigated for a possible probation violation from a previous marijuana conviction. In 2015, Stevens defended his wife during the whole domestic violence controversy saying, “It is a witch hunt, you can put that in the paper.”
1. Max and Hope Are Officially Enemies
Ever since the release of her book, Solo: A Memoir of Hope, the Dancing With The Stars partners have expressed their hatred for each other. Solo wrote that supposedly Max slapped her in the face during a rehearsal. “Maks was rough and mean with me, flinging me and pushing me around,” Solo wrote in her book. “I could see the shocked looks on the faces of the other dancers…He wanted my head in a specific position. To achieve that, he slapped me across the face. Hard.” That quickly escalated to the dancing expert expressing his feelings towards the athlete. During the Allegedly podcast, Max was playing the game “F*ck, marry, or kill” and he chose to kill Solo. The hosts then asked why and he honestly answered, “She’s just a s**tty person,” he said. “You can have a s**tty life growing up, but if you’re a bad person, there’s no excuse for that.” Solo then tweeted her response by posting a meme of all the judges from DWTS holding up a 1. It was obviously a jab towards Max.
When he made a guest appearance on the talk show, The Real, he was asked to express more of his feelings towards Solo and once again, he didn’t hold back. “We didn’t have a good time on the show and it’s been highly documented,” he said. “In that setting of that radio interview this was, you know, this was sort of like appropriately inappropriate. She’s not somebody I talk about. I don’t like her and that’s the end of it. That’s literally the only person that I could…I dislike from my past, present or future.”
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