United States women’s national team coach Jill Ellis is adamant that the suspension of Hope Solo was not just because of the comments made about Sweden.
Solo, 35, was suspended for six months from the USWNT after calling Sweden “a bunch of cowards” after the loss to the Swedes in the Olympics in Rio. Solo was less than impressed with the defensive style of the Swedish team, led by former US coach Pia Sundhage. Ellis stressed that the Sweden comments were just part of why Solo was suspended. The goalkeeper created headlines back in 2014 when she was charged with misdemeanor counts of assault after an incident involving her half-sister and nephew.
“Over time there’s been off the field distractions for which the federation has taken action. Each time an action has been taken there’s been made clear an expectation that this would be the last time such a step would be necessary,” Ellis said. “Sadly, how Hope handled her post-Olympic comments forced us to make a significant decision. It’s not simply a decision made about comments, it was based on the sum total of actions that have unfortunately shone a negative light on our program.”
Ellis said that the USWNT will look to continue development of goalkeepers in preparation for World Cup 2019 in France.
“After the Olympics the plan was always to prepare for 2019 and that means investing in the other goalkeepers and getting them playing time. That’s still the process and it’s the same for every position,” she said. “Everything right now is building towards 2019 and our future.”