Hope Solo

In a lengthy and pointed essay published on Facebook, longtime United States Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo announced she’d be running for president of U.S. Soccer.

Solo focused on her experiences growing up as a product of the much-maligned “pay-to-play” system that serves as the main target for many critics of the American soccer structure:

I learned at an early age that my family didn’t have the means to pay for me to play club or Olympic Development Program (ODP) soccer. Year after year, I knocked on doors to get handouts from neighbors and family friends. My grandparents also supported my never-ending tournament fees. When I made my first regional pool and was asked to stay one extra week, it would have cost my family $500-$600 as a “reward” for their daughter being one of the best players in the region, an honor they could neither afford nor accept.
My parents said no.
That’s a real problem faced by families all over the country, and while the struggles at the senior levels of the federation aren’t going to be fixed solely by changing elements like this, but fixing play on the field for the national teams isn’t the direct responsibility of the president. They have coaches for that.
Instead, Solo would be focusing on things she outlined, including financial transparency and equitable pay and treatment for men and women.
It’s an appealing platform, and a woman as president would be a fantastic change for the male-dominated world of international soccer. But there’s one problem with the message: the messenger herself. Not that Solo shouldn’t be considered, of course, but her candidacy has to be considered a long shot after her arrest for domestic violence (charges that were dropped then reinstated) as well as an incident when her husband (former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens) was arrested for driving under the influence while behind the wheel of a U.S. Soccer team van with Solo as a passenger.
Solo is nothing if not controversial, but her stances are reasonable, and the race should feature more women willing to share their voices and experiences. According to Grant Wahl, she will definitely be in the running, having cleared the only barrier to entry:

Solo’s presence can only be a good thing, and frankly her platform is more reasonable than many views professed by those already in the running. She’s probably not going to win, but that doesn’t mean she can’t make a difference by running.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.