With a name like Hope Solo it is little wonder her brilliant performance against Brazil in the 2008 Olympics finals was perceived as instrumental in the US winning gold. One lost count of the many saves she made.
A stunning comeback from the previous year after she fell out of favour of Greg Ryan who benched her for the semi-finals in the 2007 World Cup in favour of veteran Briana Scurry. The Brazilians routed the US, 4-0. Solo did not mince words after the loss.
“It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There’s no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. … You have to live in the present. And you can’t live by big names. You can’t live in the past.”
Ryan saw red. Solo was dismissed from further participation in the World Cup and flew back from China on her own dime. She was ostracized by her team mates for her self serving words and spent the rest of the season on the bench.
Solo has been rehabilitated under present coach, Pia Sundhage who firmly believes she is her best hope (her name lends itself to endless puns).
“Hope Solo is coming back from injury and we are happy with what we see. Of course I’ve talked about the last World Cup with her, and between then and now we had the Olympics in 2008 and the way she played, saving a ball in the final.”
A shoulder surgery kept Solo out of the World Cup qualifying rounds. Without her the US gave up some key goals and after a shocking loss against Mexico were in danger of missing out before winning the playoffs against Italy.
Her return in March to the WPS has her back in form and she leads the goalkeeping stats. Sundhage included Solo and Abby Wambach in the 21 woman squad announced over the weekend for the World Cup in Germany starting June 26th. The squad will prepare with a two match warm up against Japan.
Goalkeepers: Nicole Barnhart (Philadelphia Independence), Jill Loyden (magicJack), Hope Solo (magicJack)
Defenders: Rachel Buehler (Boston Breakers), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Ali Krieger (out of contract), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Atlanta Beat), Christie Rampone (magicJack), Becky Sauerbrunn (magicJack)
Midfielders: Shannon Boxx (magicJack), Tobin Heath (Sky Blue FC), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Atlanta Beat), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Philadelphia Independence), Lindsay Tarpley (magicJack)
Forwards: Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Western New York Flash), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (magicJack)