In the aftermath of the U.S. women's Olympic soccer team's loss to Sweden earlier this month, superstar goalkeeper Hope Solo made some remarks that ended up costing her dearly. She called the victorious Swedes "a bunch of cowards," a display of starkly poor sportsmanship which may, in addition to a number of off-the-field incidents, have ended her career at the national level. She was handed a six-month suspension for her remarks, and her contract with the U.S. Women's National Team was terminated. And Solo's reaction to her suspension and termination was captured on video.
It probably goes without saying, but it was apparently an emotional and angry moment for Solo. In the video, recorded for Fullscreen's documentary series Keeping Score, she informed her husband Jerramy Stevens (who's a former professional football player) of the suspension, seemingly in tearful disbelief. "Six months suspension, no pay," she says. "Terminated contract, effective immediately. Terminated contract. It's not just a suspension."
Stevens asks her how they could both suspend her and terminate her contract, and she doesn't seem to know, beyond the fact that it's happening. "It's both!" The video then cuts to a close-up of Solo, tears streaked across her face. "Seventeen f**king years, and it's over!"
Solo, at 35, had in all likelihood played her last game at the Olympic level regardless, as she'll be 39 by the time the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo roll around, and that's a very advanced age for an elite soccer player. Regardless, in the event she doesn't sign a new contract with the USNWT after her suspension is lifted ― which seems like a distinct possibility, judging from Solo's reaction and the very fact that the team felt the need to both suspend and cut her ― then she'll also miss a chance at defending the U.S. title in the Women's World Cup in 2019, when she'll be 38.
For what it's worth, the harsh punishment taken against Solo might not be strictly to do with her postgame comments about Sweden. She's been in legal trouble in recent years, having been charged with two counts of domestic violence in 2014 ― one against her half-sister, and one against her nephew. Those charges have not yet been resolved.
Solo was also suspended from the team for one month in 2015, after her husband was arrested for a DUI while driving an official U.S. Women's National Team van, The Washington Post reported (she was riding in the passenger seat). In other words, there was a demonstrable series of controversies and worrisome allegations that led up to this moment, to say nothing of Solo's notoriously brash attitude toward her play. In 2007, she publicly blasted her coach for benching her in favor of Brianna Scurry, also attacking the then-36-year-old goalkeeper's abilities.
Following the news that she'd been suspended and had her contract terminated, Solo also announced that she'd be cutting her National Women's Soccer League season with the Seattle Reign short, calling the experience "devastating."