Hope Solo: Hard Times at Home and Her Rocky Road Since Rio
HER RISE TO THE TOP
Hope Solo played for several U.S. junior national soccer teams, including the Seattle Sounders Women, before joining the senior team in 2000, where she distinguished herself as a goalkeeper. She competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens as an alternate, but since 2005, she has been a starting player for the team, and holds the national team record for longest undefeated streak as a goalkeeper. In 2016, Solo became the first-ever goalie, man or woman, to pull off 100 shutouts in international competition.
A COMPLICATED MARRIAGE
TROUBLE AT HOME
In June 2014, two years after the incident with her husband, Solo was arrested after an alleged domestic violence incident. According to The Seattle Times, police said that Solo hit her half-sister Teresa Obert and nephew during a family gathering at her Kirkland, Washington, home, and that there were "visible" injuries on the alleged victims. According to court papers, Solo told officers that her nephew "hit" her over the head with a broomstick after becoming enraged when she called him "fat and unathletic." After being arrested on two counts of domestic violence assault, a handcuffed Solo was taken to jail, where it's claimed she hurled insults at officers.
In the midst of her impressive World Cup performance in 2015, Solo found herself at the center of controversy yet again as the half-sister she was arrested for attacking in June 2014 went public with alleged details. A police report also surfaced that painted Solo as combative. Within days, everyone from her former coach to a U.S. senator was denouncing her, with a few critics even demanding that U.S. Soccer officials yank their star player from the team. "It's been a painful year," Solo told PEOPLE. "I almost lost my career. It's been traumatic and embarrassing." In January 2015, a judge dismissed the case after Obert and her son left the state to avoid a court-ordered deposition.
ANOTHER BRUSH WITH THE LAW
A few weeks after her domestic violence charges were dismissed, Solo was suspended for 30 days from the U.S. team after her husband was arrested for driving drunk in Manhattan Beach, California, in the U.S. team van with Solo in the passenger seat. Solo told PEOPLE that that's when she hit rock bottom. "Whenever I used to have any kind of disappointment or struggle, I turned to soccer," she said. "But it wasn't working this time around."
BOOS IN BRAZIL
At the Rio Olympics opener against New Zealand, the stadium booed every time Solo touched the ball, seemingly in response to tweets she posted earlier this summer in which she joked about her excessive defenses against the Zika virus. (She posted a photo of herself wrapped up in a mosquito net and holding a large bottle of bug repellent. Her caption: "Not sharing this!!! Get your own!") The crowd also chanted "Zika! Zika!" at Solo throughout the game. "I came here to do one thing, and that's to help our team win, our country win," Solo told PEOPLE. "And I'm very focused in doing that."
A TOUGH LOSS
At the Olympics the U.S team lost to Sweden … and Solo did not take it well. "I thought we played a courageous game," she told Sports Illustrated after the loss. "But I also think we played a bunch of cowards. The best time did not win today … Sweden dropped off. They didn't want to open play. They didn't want to pass the ball. They didn't want to play great soccer." Solo's comments spread quickly, again drawing her ire, and on Aug. 24, U.S. Soccer announced that the goalie would be suspended for six months for what the organization termed conduct "counter to the organization's principles."a
FALLOUT FROM THE BAN
Footage of the moment Solo found out that her soccer career might have come to an end shows the goalkeeper angry and emotional. "Seventeen f------ years, and it's over," she shouted in an exclusive clip from the Fullscreen series Keeping Score, obtained by PEOPLE. "Six months suspension, she said, hugging her husband. "No pay. Terminated Contract. Effective immediately." U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati had said that the comments Solo made after the loss to Sweden were "unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players."