Soccer

Michelle Kaufman: U.S. Soccer shows Hope Solo tough love

Hope Solo, left, was in a U.S. Soccer van with her husband, former NFL player Jerramy Stevens, when Stevens was arrested.
Hope Solo, left, was in a U.S. Soccer van with her husband, former NFL player Jerramy Stevens, when Stevens was arrested. AP

It was time for U.S. Soccer to show Hope Solo some tough love, and it did, suspending her for 30 days for making a “poor decision,” in the words of coach Jill Ellis.

It was the latest questionable decision in a string that was getting troubling.

As talented and glamorous and marketable as the U.S. national-team goalkeeper is, Solo needs to realize that her behavior away from the field not only detracts from the team, but is also a bad influence on the millions of young players who admire her.

“During our current national team camp, Hope made a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. Soccer and her teammates,” Ellis said in a statement. “We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.”

Solo didn’t disagree.

“I think it’s best for me to take a break, decompress from the stress of the last several months, and come back mentally and physically ready to positively contribute to the team,” she said in a statement.

Nobody has said exactly why she was suspended, but it is believed to be connected to the Monday morning arrest of her husband, former NFL tight end Jarramy Stevens, who was pulled over at 1:30 a.m. in Manhattan Beach, California, and arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. Solo, who was attending a U.S. training camp, was in the vehicle with him but was not arrested.

TMZ, Sports Illustrated and the Associated Press reported that Stevens was driving a U.S. national team van when he was arrested. My guess is Ellis hadn’t given him the keys.

In early January, a judge dismissed two misdemeanor counts of domestic violence against Solo following an altercation with her half-sister and 17-year-old nephew at a party in Washington last summer. She pleaded not guilty and was not suspended before or during the trial.

She will miss upcoming friendly matches in England and France.

▪ Klinsmann scouting: U.S. men’s coach Jurgen Klinsmann, in his never-ending search for hyphenated Americans, invited two dual-national prospects to the team’s camp this month.

Canadian-American forward Tesho Akindele, the Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year, and Mexican-American forward Julio Morales are being evaluated in camp in Carson, California. Akindele, who went to Colorado School of Mines, scored seven goals and had three assists in his rookie season with FC Dallas.

Morales was loaned from Chivas Guadalajara to Chivas U.S. in 2013. He was born in California but has been playing in the Mexican second division..

“The goal is with players like Akindele or with Julio Morales or other ones that have come in before is that they get a feeling for our environment, that they get a feeling for their teammates, how things are run with the U.S. program and then down the road they make their decision together with their family,” Klinsmann said on ussoccer.com. “They have to go the direction they feel most comfortable with.”

Akindele played U-17 for Canada, and was invited to Canada’s camp a few months ago, but declined. Morales represented Mexico at the 2013 U-20 World Cup.

▪ Real Madrid phenom: Real Madrid signed 16-year-old Norwegian Martin Odegaard. At 15, he became the youngest player to appear in a European Championship qualifier when he played in a 2-1 win over Bulgaria. He will split time between the first and reserve teams.

▪ Strikers sign goalie: The Fort Lauderdale Strikers signed goalkeeper Joe Nasco, who spent last season with the Colorado Rapids of MLS. Nasco, 30, is a Florida native who played for the NASL Atlanta Silverbacks in 2012-13. Before that, he had dropped out of the sport and become a police officer in Calhoun, Georgia.

“Joe Nasco has proven himself to be a top player in the league,” general manager Amaury Nunes said. “He brings a lot of experience and leadership to an important position on the field and we are extremely excited to have Joe and his family here in Fort Lauderdale.”

▪ Megaloudis moves: Former Miami Fusion assistant coach Nick Megaloudis, who spent the past 10 years as director at Pinecrest Premier SC, was named senior director at Miami Strike Force. Megaloudis was an All-American at Long Island University, played for the U.S. Under-19 team and played professionally in the NASL and MISL.

Pinecrest Premier, now operating as Real Miami FC, named Richard Chinapoo the director of coaching for boys and Sarah Dacey director of coaching for girls. Chinapoo was an All-American at Long Island University and played in the NASL, NPSL and MISL. Dacey won three national titles as a player at North Carolina and later coached at Providence, Boston College and Babson.

Who’s leading

English Premier League: Chelsea (52), Manchester City (47), Southampton (42), Manchester United (40), Arsenal (39).

La Liga: Real Madrid (45), Barcelona (44), Atletico Madrid (41), Sevilla (39), Valencia (38).

Serie A: Juventus (46), Roma (41), Sampdoria and Napoli (33), Lazio (31).

Bundesliga: Bayern Munich (45), Wolfsburg (34), Bayer (28), Monchengladbach and Schalke (27).

Ligue 1: Lyon (45), Marseille (44), PSG (41), ASSE (40), Monaco (36).

On the tube

Sunday: Juventus vs. Chievo (9 a.m., BeIn Sport USA), Athletic Club vs. Malaga

(11 a.m., BeIn Sport USA).

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