Our ongoing love affair with America's sweethearts begins anew in a few days. Carli Lloyd, Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, and the indomitable Hope Solo will lead Team USA on the soccer field at the 2012 London Olympics. As the squadâ��s goalie, Hope has learned how to master the loneliest, most important position on the field and still be a team player. The result was a gold medal for Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Prior to becoming a cover girl, spokesperson, Dancing with the Stars contestant, and receiving marriage proposals from men across the world, there was just Hope and her dad. Jeffrey Solo taught his daughter how to play soccer. Divorce separated Hope from her father when she was six, but Hope continued playing the game. As a forward, she scored 109 goals in her high school career, which culminated in a state championship. Hope attended the University of Washington where she changed her position to goalkeeper. Success continued as she became the all-time leader in shutouts, saves, and goals. Meanwhile, her dad was a constant, supportive presence in his daughter’s life.
Hope was named an alternate for Team USA back in 2004. By 2005 she had earned the starting position, and recorded an impressive streak of 1054 minutes without allowing a goal. The 2007 FIFA Womenâ��s World Cup was pivotal in Hopeâ��s international career. She was benched in the semifinal match against Brazil, and Team USA ended up losing the game. After the match, she voiced her opinions to the media. In a nutshell, she criticized Team USA Coach Greg Ryanâ��s decision, calling it wrong. The former coach responded by announcing Hope would not suit up to play Norway the next day. It was later revealed that it was a team decision. That was the beginning of Hope's transformation from individual superstar to team player.
In 2008, Hope was a remarkably different, more mature player and person. Once again, she was named starting goalkeeper and was in net for Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Hope’s performance was nothing less than spectacular. Team USA won the gold defeating nemesis Brazil by just one goal.
So all is forgiven, right? Well, not so fast. In a recent interview, Hope admitted to being drunk while appearing on NBC’s Today Show the day after the victory. On the heels of that disclosure, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) warned her publicly that a banned substance had been detected in her urine. Although I’m just a guy, I will try to decipher Hope’s explanation. She claimed the culprit was an innocent premenstrual prescription medication containing Canrenone. Hope fully cooperated with the USADA, and the organization eventually verified her claim thereby clearing her for full participation in the upcoming London games.
Despite all her trials and tribulations, you still have to respect, admire, and be inspired by Hope. She's a flesh and blood person doing the best she can with what she’s been given. Sure Hope’s brash and comes off a bit opinionated at times, but take a walk in her cleats. Just imagine the confidence and steely nerve one has to possess to be a goalkeeper at the highest level, going up against the best competition in the world. So, don’t judge this soccer star for her mistakes. We should appreciate Hope instead for her passion, and undeniable excellence.
Images courtesy of Jeffircink.blogspot.com, Society.ezinemark.comCheck out Bobby’s blog by clicking here.