Whoever is writing this show knows how to go back to the well, because it seems like just last season that The Hope Solo Experience ended with the star goalkeeper in trouble. Oh, wait. That was a different kind of trouble, and it ended with the State of Washington dismissing domestic violence charges against her. The reason why she’s just been suspended by U.S. Soccer is totally different.
You read that correctly. One week after walking away from charges that she assaulted her 17-year-old nephew during a family altercation, Solo has been suspended for 30 days by U.S. Soccer — for reasons unrelated.
“The suspension stems from an incident that occurred during the current WNT (women’s national team) training camp being held in Carson, California,” a statement from the federation, distributed Wednesday, read. The announcement comes after Solo’s husband, ex-NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens, was charged with driving under the influence after an arrest at 1 a.m. on Monday. According to reports, the two were “acting belligerent,” with Solo nearly arrested as well.
We don’t know whether that behavior led to the suspension, which, at 30 days, will take Solo through her team’s February friendlies against France and England. We don’t know if she broke curfew, was around alcohol when she shouldn’t have been, or broke some other understanding she had with U.S. Soccer, if there were any untold understandings at all. If there are certain expectations the federations has for its players — expectations it sensibly doesn’t elaborate on via the press — it wouldn’t be surprising.
“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,” head coach Jill Ellis said, via the same statement. “We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.”
Solo, through a statement released on Facebook, agrees.
“I accept and respect the Federation’s decision, and more importantly, I apologize for disappointing my teammates, coaches and the Federation who have always supported me,” Solo explained. “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.”
If this was an isolated instance, we could see this as a mistake and move on. It’d be unfortunate, but it wouldn’t be a big deal. But this comes not only on the heels of Solo’s last close call with the law, but not long after the arrest that came after her and Stevens were involved in another domestic violence incident in 2012. And every time one of these situations comes up, people remember the 2007 World Cup, something which should seem like a distant memory, but given how often Solo’s seen this harsh light, it seems like only yesterday. It’s that accumulation that makes these brushes with the authorities kind of a big deal.
But this big deal has two very distinct sides, one vastly more important than the other. Married for less than three years, Solo and Steven have had three major incidents with law enforcement: a domestic violence incident in 2012, the day before they were married; Solo’s arrest last June for assault; and Monday’s incident in Los Angeles. There’s a pattern here – an outcome people prematurely speculated about two years ago. While those predictions were based on little more than a perception of Solo, Stevens’ notoriety, and some amateur analysis, now there’s reason to take notice. Those early predictions, premature was they may have been, are now looking prescient.
Then there’s the less important part: soccer. You won’t have to search long on social media to find knowledgeable people asking whether U.S. Soccer should move on from the distractions:
But the women’s national team has survived Solo’s indiscretions before. After years with her as a linchpin of the setup, players know what to expect. As volatile as Solo looks from the outside, she’s also a known commodity, with plenty of teammates respecting her beyond what she brings to the field. Though her teammates will be disappointed with this latest turn, there’s an unfortunate, somewhat pathetic “Hope’s gonna Hope” element to this.
In every way, this is just like a reality show you’d see on VH-1, right down to the two “us against the world” train wrecks at its heart. Amid all the nonsensical decisions and the lifestyle you don’t quite understand (yet you’ll keep watching), there is one constant: They’ll always find a way to get into trouble, something that guarantees they’ll be renewed for another season.
This season’s drama is the husband’s arrest. Last season, it was the wife’s court case. In a few months, when the show really needs something for sweeps, the two will take the show on the road, where Canadian-style hijinxs will ensue. At this point, it’s just part of the package with Hope Solo, as potentially destructive as that may be.