Former USWNT goalie hopes to score the US Soccer Presidency

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Former United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) player Ms. Hope Solo announced that she is running for the position of United States Soccer Federation (USSF) President Thursday, December 7, 2017. US Soccer’s current president Mr. Sunil Gulati announced his retirement Monday, December 4, 2017, after the end of his third four-year term, according to npr.org. As one of nine people who have announced their candidacies, Ms. Solo is the only woman other than Ms. Kathy Carter, the current President of Soccer United Marketing, according to cbssports.com.

USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo receiving the Golden Glove Award at the 2015 World Cup in Canada which is given to the tournament’s top goalkeeper. Courtesy of hopesolo.com.

Ms. Solo was a goalkeeper for the USWNT for 17 years, and she believes that her experience with the team allows her to understand what is needed to improve the Federation. 

“I know exactly what U.S. Soccer needs to do, I know exactly how to do it, and I possess the fortitude to get it done,” Ms. Solo said, according to hopesolo.com.

Ms. Solo still holds many goalkeeper records, including most wins and longest undefeated streak, making her the best female soccer goalie to ever play on the United States Women’s National Team, according to foxsports.comDuring her time with the USWNT, Ms. Solo helped them win two Olympic Gold medals and one World Cup title.

However, after the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Federation suspended Ms. Solo from the USWNT when she called the Swedish National Team “cowards” after losing to them during the quarterfinals, according to npr.org. This incident earned Ms. Solo a six-month suspension which consequently caused the termination of her contract. 

While Ms. Solo was still a member of the national team, she confronted the Federation about equal pay. The pay gap between the United States Women’s National Team and the United States Men’s National Team caused Ms. Solo and other members of the USWNT team to file a lawsuit against the Federation. The United States Soccer Federation’s 2015 financial report showed that although the women produced $20 million more than the men, they were paid a quarter of what the men earned, according to espnw.com.

Hope Solo with former USWNT teammates; Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, and Becky Sauerbrunn wearing their shirts to help raise awareness for equal pay and equal play among the US National Teams. Courtesy of CNN.

If elected, Ms. Solo would like to continue her fight for equal pay between the two US National Teams. As a result of her legal battle and experience with the Federation, Ms. Solo believes that she has a unique understanding of the current and potential problems the Federation faces. 

“My time in the negotiating room, as well as in countless meetings with USSF presidents, vice presidents, press officers, board members, attorneys, and representatives, all the way down the line has given me firsthand experience in their business tactics and where their true goal lies. It has always been about the money.” Ms. Solo said in her candidacy announcement on Facebook.

Taylor O’Meara, a Sacred Heart Greenwich sophomore who plays on the varsity soccer team believes that Ms. Solo possesses the qualities needed to ameliorate US Soccer.

“She has challenged US Soccer from a player’s perspective and since nothing has changed from the equal pay challenges, I admire her for continuing to fight the Federation and for wanting to be president so she can implement changes rather than giving up or standing down in her fight,” Taylor said.  

USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo punts the ball October 21, 2015, in a match against Brazil. Courtesy of medicaldaily.com

In addition to her fight for equal pay, Ms. Solo’s objectives also include lowering the prices of youth soccer. Miss Solo believes that the sport has now become an “upper-class sport” due to the rising prices of club teams and youth programs.

The US Women’s National Team is ranked as the number one team in the world, according to fifa.comWhile the US Women’s Team has been thriving, the men’s team has failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Russia. Ms. Solo is eager to make US Soccer a more competitive culture. 

“I’m running for president of U.S. Soccer because I know what we need to do to create a winning culture,” Ms. Solo said, according to hopesolo.com.

Election day for the USSF presidency is February 10, 2018. If Ms. Solo wins she would be the first female president of the US Soccer Federation. 

“What we have lost in America is belief in our system, in our coaches, in our talent pool, and in the governance of U.S. Soccer,”  Ms. Solo said in her Facebook post. “We now must refocus our goals and come together as a soccer community to bring about the changes we desire.”