Solo will not return to club this season
Goalkeeper, 35, serving 6-month ban
Trial pending for domestic violence charge
Called Swedish opponents "cowards"
After a tumultuous few weeks, Hope Solo says she needs some time on her own.
The 35-year-old goalkeeper, who is serving a six-month suspension from the US women’s national team following a contentious time at the Rio Olympics, has announced she will not be returning to her club team, the Seattle Reign, this season.
“Coming to terms with the fact I was fired from the US women’s national team after 17 years of service has been devastating,” Solo wrote on her social media accounts Tuesday.
“After careful consideration, I have decided to end my season with the Seattle Reign, an organization I love playing for,” she added. “Mentally, I am not there yet.”
With two Olympic gold medals and one World Cup title under her belt, Solo has long been acknowledged as the world’s top female goalkeeper.
But the Washington native has also been a polarizing figure in the sports world for number of years. In the lead-up to the London 2012 Olympics, she admitted to going on the Today Show drunk after partying all night following her 2008 gold medal win in Beijing.
In 2014, Solo was arrested on domestic assault charges related to a drunken fight with her half-sister and her nephew (a local judge dismissed the charges on procedural grounds; a state appeals court reinstated them and trial is pending).
In 2015, Solo was suspended from the national side for 30 days after her husband was arrested and charged with driving the US Soccer team van under the influence (Solo was with him at the time).
Leading up to the Rio Olympics, she created a stir by posing under a bee net with insect repellent in hand, prompting cries of “Zika!” by local fans every time she touched the ball – a reference to the virus that concerned many athletes ahead of the Games.
On the pitch, Solo was not at her best in Rio. She let a crucial goal slip through her legs against Colombia, before venting her frustration after crashing out to Sweden on penalty kicks.
Calling the Swedes “cowards” after the semifinal match appeared to be the last straw for US Soccer, which promptly suspended her for what it said was an accumulation of actions.
Seattle plays in the 10-team National Women’s Soccer League and has four regular season games left on its schedule. The team is in fifth place, one spot out of playoff contention.
Solo was granted personal leave from the Reign’s last match, but has left her future with the team – and her career – in doubt. Solo cited the solid play of her understudy Haley Kopmeyer as one reason she felt comfortable with the move.
“I truly believe this decision is what’s best for me and for the Reign organization,” she said.
Reign coach and general manager Laura Harvey accepted her goalkeeper’s decision with comments on the team’s Twitter account.
“While disappointed that Hope will not return to Reign FC this season, we understand and respect her decision,” she said.
Solo, whose contract with US Soccer was set to expire at the end of the year, will not be eligible for national team selection again until February.