United States coach gives her first statement on Hope Solo situation
The Hope Solo situation is bizarre to say the least.
The United States international goalkeeper, who has more than 200 caps to her name, was handed a six-month international suspension for describing the Swedish team that eliminated the US from the Olympics as 'cowards'.
To say she reacted angrily would be an understatement. In a four-letter tirade, she hit out at the decision to cut her from the team for what many consider a minor offence compared to what other players have escaped lengthy punishment for.
While it was widely accepted that Solo's punishment was for an accumulation of offences rather than the 'cowards' comments alone, plenty of fans and observers still consider it harsh.
Those on the other side of things had largely kept their silence until now, but United States Women's National Team (USWNT) coach Jill Ellis has finally issued a statement explaining the decision.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) September 6, 2016
'It wasn't a decision just made about comments. It was a sum total of actions that have unfortunately shown (sic) a negative light on our program,' Ellis' statement reads.
Solo had attracted attention before the Olympics began for her tweet about the Zika virus, prompting chants of 'Zika' during more than one US game at the tournament.
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) July 22, 2016
And that was not the first time the veteran goalkeeper attracted controversy while involved with the US national setup.
Back in 2007, when she was dropped for a World Cup semi-final after playing every game up to that point, she hit out at coach Greg Ryan for his decision, prompting calls for a suspension even then.
Solo said after her length suspension that she was 'saddened' to lose her spot in the squad - in a statement rather more subdued than her filmed tirade - and said 'I could not be the player I am without being the person I am'.