The American women’s national soccer team was hoping to win its fifth overall gold medal at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but they were ousted by Sweden in the quarterfinals after a penalty shootout. The contest ended 1-1 after 90 minutes and there was no further scoring in 30 minutes of extra time. Sweden then edged the USA by a goal 4-3 in the ensuing shootout. This didn’t sit well with veteran American goalkeeper and the 35-year-old made some unflattering remarks about the Swedish team following the loss.
Basically, she called the Swedish women “cowards” for parking the bus and defending during the game rather than stacking the Americans. This emotional outburst led to U.S. Soccer to punish Solo by suspending her for six months and terminating her contract with the national team. Soon after, Solo announced she wouldn’t be returning to her club team, the Seattle Reign, this year.
Solo called the Swedes “a bunch of cowards” for focusing on defense rather than attacking the three-time defending champion US team. Sweden eliminated the USA 4-3 on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw in a quarterfinal match. Sunil Gulati, the president of US Soccer, told the media Solo’s remarks were “unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our national team players. Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.”
However, many experts believe the punishment was quite severe for somebody who was just speaking their mind after a heartbreaking loss and Solo has the right to free speech. Others believe Solo’s ban was handed out due to an accumulation of episodes involving the goalie. She was handed a 30-day ban in January of 2015 when her husband was pulled over for drinking and driving in a US soccer vehicle which Solo had borrowed. She’s was also accused of misdemeanor domestic violence in 2014 regarding an incident with her nephew and sister. Solo believes she was banned because she’s been outspoken concerning the women’s team’s right to the same pay as the U.S. men’s team.
There’s no doubt Solo has helped the American women become the most successful squad on the world stage. She ‘s the first woman to record 100 international clean sheets and also has over 150 wins to her name. Solo has won numerous individual awards for her play and has won two Olympic gold medals and a World Cup. She was also one of the women who filed a complaint regarding wage discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding unequal pay between the men’s and women’s teams even though the women have been far more successful.
On a recent webcast, Solo was quoted as saying, “17 years on this team and then to be treated this way in the end is not surprising from U.S. Soccer, to be honest. I feel like I’m being pushed out because it can’t be based on my performance or my health. It can’t be based off anything but they don’t like me, because they know I’ve been fighting so hard for equal pay. They’re going to use my Olympic comments about Sweden as an excuse to get rid of me forever so they don’t have to deal with such a strong voice and opposition to field conditions, playing conditions and equal pay. I think I’m just a thorn in their side and it’s time for them to cut their losses.”Tweet
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