In their first match of the 2016 Rio Olympics, the United States Women’s Soccer Team clawed and fought their way to a 1-0 victory over France. Carli Lloyd scored the lone goal for the U.S., tapping in a rebound in the 63rd minute. However, it was Hope Solo, the United States goalkeeper, who was the hero of the game for the U.S., making save after save and consistently denying the French efforts to score. Hope reminded us why she is the top goalkeeper in the world, and certainly one of the the game’s greatest keeper ever.
However, greatness, often comes with controversy, and with Hope Solo, it is no different. With two Olympic gold medals (possibly a third in Rio), a World Cup title, and numerous other awards, Hope has become the definition of greatness in women’s soccer. On the field, no one can reasonably deny that Solo has been a figurehead for U.S. women’s soccer and is one of the game’s greatest. However, her reputation off the field is much more polarized.
Several incidents off the field have caused Solo to become a controversial figure. There was her arrest, in 2014, on charges of domestic abuse. Solo’s words to police officers on the night of her arrest received significant media headlines, and the media coverage of the fight between her and two family members portrayed Hope as an angry and violent person. Hope received a one-match ban from the National Women’s Soccer League, sparking a debate about a possible double standard between genders regarding domestic violence. While Solo’s charges were dropped, they were reinstated in October 2015.
More recently, Solo became involved in more controversy right before the 2016 Rio Olympic games. Solo posted pictures of insect repellents and “Zika” repellent spray on Instagram, claiming she “didn’t want to take any chances,” and that she “knew of what was going on in Brazil.” While Solo later defended her comments, fans attending the Olympics were offended and, in the United States’ opening game, they booed her and shouted “Zika” every time she had the ball. After the match, Solo stated that she knew the fans were booing her, and that the jeers did and would not affect her at all.
Hope Solo came to Rio with one goal: to win another gold medal for the United States. A gold medal would certainly add to Solo’s plethora of awards. However, controversy appears to accompany Solo where she goes. Solo has been an inspiration for girls, women and athletes all over the United States, but her numerous controversies are starting to overshadow her accomplishments in her illustrious soccer career.