U.S. women’s soccer makes controversial selection of goalkeeper Hope Solo for its roster

Hope Solo
Hope Solo Getty Images

U.S. national women’s coach Jill Ellis, a Palmetto Bay resident, on Monday stood by her decision to include Hope Solo on the roster for upcoming World Cup qualifying matches despite calls from critics — including a former teammate — to leave the star goalkeeper off until a pending domestic assault case is settled.

Solo is facing misdemeanor charges in Washington stemming from an altercation on June 21 involving her half-sister and 17-year-old nephew. She pleaded not guilty and her trial is set for Nov.4.

“There was a lot of thought and a lot of discussions within U.S. Soccer, and certainly we acknowledge that these are very serious issues, but after careful thought and consideration we just determined to stand by our decision to let this legal process play out and have Hope remain with the team,” Ellis said.

Jilian Loyden, a former member of the U.S. team who plays in the National Women’s Soccer League, lost her sister to domestic violence. She wrote in an op-ed piece in USA Today: “Speaking out on these issues is not always easy. Hope Solo is my teammate and a personal mentor. But I cannot stand by as young fans receive the message that this behavior — even if the allegations proved to be inaccurate — can go unnoticed.

“U.S. Soccer needs to send the right message. They need to communicate that domestic violence is never okay and that it will not be tolerated. Our league can no longer turn a blind eye to the allegations that Solo assaulted two family members.’’

Solo and 19 other players were called into camp in Kansas City to prepare for World Cup qualifiers Oct.15 vs. Trinidad and Tobago, Oct.17 vs. Guatemala in Illinois and Oct.20 vs. Haiti in Washington. The roster includes veterans Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone, Carli Lloyd, Ali Krieger, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. Younger players to watch are Crystal Dunn and Morgan Brian.

U.S. men’s coach Jurgen Klinsmann also released his roster Monday for Friday’s friendly against Ecuador in East Hartford, Connecticut, otherwise known as Landon Donovan’s Farewell Match. The popular veteran is retiring as the all-time leader in goals (57) and assists (58).

The team then heads to Boca Raton for an Oct.14 match against Honduras at FAU Stadium. Among the players expected include Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Alejandro Bedoya and Nick Rimando.

“We look at these two games as an opportunity to take a picture of the player pool as it stands now,” said Klinsmann. “Already the hierarchy starts to shift in some ways, which is normal at the beginning of a cycle. Obviously, it’s going to be a special night on Friday as everyone in the U.S. Soccer family will have the chance to honor the amazing career of Landon Donovan.”