Shut up, Hope Solo.
The USA Women’s National Soccer Team suffered a stunning loss to Sweden Friday afternoon in the Olympic quarterfinals, losing in penalty kicks after tying 1-1 in regulation. The U.S. Women’s team is the reigning World Cup Champion and were the heavy favorites to march through the Olympics and take home the gold. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
“…I also think we played a bunch of cowards. The better team did not win today. I strongly believe that.”
That’s a quote from star goalie Hope Solo after the loss. Petty, immature and bitter. She went on to explain that the Swedish team played a very conservative brand of soccer: dropping off, avoiding open play and refusing to press. In other words, doing what they needed to do to beat an athletically superior team.
That’s called strategy Hope, not cowardice.
I’m not a soccer expert- not even a soccer fan for that matter- so I’ll take Solo at her word in terms of the X’s and O’s. The fact is, Sweden put together and executed a game plan good enough to give themselves a chance to win, and the U.S. couldn’t overcome it. When that happens you tip your cap to the opponent and get back into the film room.
I understand that Solo was put in front of lights and cameras and microphones just minutes after a tough, unexpected loss. I understand that emotions must have been running high. But Hope Solo isn’t just a player on the team; she’s one of the faces of U.S. Women’s Soccer. Her name and celebrity put her up there with Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm (and someone else) on the Mount Rushmore of the sport. She should be better than that.
The truth is, she isn’t better than that. She’s got a history of off the field embarrassments that would dominate headlines if she were a male athlete. She has a history of throwing teammates under the bus, and calling out coaches. She’s bashed her way through her career like a wrecking ball, letting a shield of talent and good looks block any collateral PR damage.
In the grand scheme of things, I really don’t care if Hope Solo embarrasses herself. I don’t need to be testing the durability of my own glass house. But, after that loss to Sweden, she represented more than herself. She represented more than the U.S. Soccer Team. She represented the United States of America. And, in one of our first true moments of disappointment in these games, she made the country look like sore losers.
It’s a worldwide fact: nobody likes a sore loser.
Author: Pierce Brix
Pierce Brix is a radio host from Albany, New York. In addition to a Knicks, Giants, and Mets fan, he is also the region’s foremost Kal Penn fan. Follow him on Twitter @GameOnBrixy. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.