soccer

Abby Wambach ‘had big problems’ with Hope Solo’s Olympic comments

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Abby Wambach said the U.S. played like it “didn’t have a soul” at the Olympics and said she “had big problems” with Hope Solo‘s comments in Rio.

“They kind of looked like a team that were trying to define themselves, but trying too hard,” Wambach, talking on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday, said of the U.S. team that lost in the quarterfinals to Sweden.

Additionally, Wambach criticized goalie Hope Solo‘s “coward” comments about Sweden.

“I had big problems with that,” said Wambach, a teammate of Solo’s at the 2012 Olympics and at three World Cups. “You never call another team coward after you’ve just been beaten. The rules in the game are the rules in the game, and you don’t want to be a sore loser — not when you’re the best team in the world, right? That, to me, looks weak.

“That’s like playground stuff. Be a professional. Stand up and say, ‘You know what, they beat us at our own game. They played better than us today.’ Call a spade a spade.”

Wambach said she and Solo “butted heads” often when their careers overlapped on the U.S. national team. She called Solo’s six-month suspension “a lifetime achievement award” for her conduct.

“Was she difficult to work with at times? Hell yeah,” Wambach said. “Was I? Probably. Because we’re these big personalities.”

Wambach also said she would have retired after the 2012 Olympics had she won the 2011 World Cup.

VIDEO: Hope Solo’s immediate reaction to suspension

Heather O’Reilly retires as one of 4 soccer players with 3 gold medals

Heather O'Reilly
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American Heather O’Reilly is retiring from the U.S. national team, ending one of the most successful international soccer careers.

“I have spent nearly half my life in a U.S. Soccer uniform, so making the decision to retire from international play was incredibly hard and emotional,” she said in a press release. “But quite simply, after 230 caps, thousands of practices, many trips around the world, and having played in three World Cups, and three Olympics, it just feels like the right time. I’ve had an incredibly complete career playing for my country and it has been an absolute honor to represent the USWNT for the last 15 years. I’m leaving this team with a lot happiness in my heart and pride for what we’ve accomplished. I truly love this game and it will be in my life forever. Now, I’m looking forward to being a USWNT fan. American Outlaws, where do I sign up?”

O’Reilly is one of four players to win three Olympic soccer gold medals, the others being teammates Christie RamponeHeather Mitts and Shannon Boxx.

O’Reilly was the youngest member of the 2004 Athens Olympic team at age 19, after her freshman year at the University of North Carolina, and returned in 2008 and 2012.

O’Reilly played on the 2007, 2011 and 2015 Women’s World Cup teams, but her string of major-tournament appearances ended this year when she was named an alternate for the Olympics.

O’Reilly retires at age 31 with 230 national-team caps, seventh-most in U.S. history, including a U.S. record 74 straight matches played from 2007 to 2011.

VIDEO: Hope Solo’s immediate reaction to suspension

Hope Solo’s reaction immediately after receiving suspension (video)

Hope Solo
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Hope Solo is tearful and profane in what appears to be a video of one of her initial reactions to a six-month suspension given to her by U.S. Soccer last week.

“Six-month suspension. No pay. Terminated contract, effective immediately. Terminated contract. Not just a suspension. It’s bull. … Seventeen f—— years, and it’s over,” Solo says to husband Jerramy Stevens.

Solo, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was suspended until February by U.S. Soccer after she called Sweden’s national team “a bunch of cowards” following the Americans’ Rio Olympic quarterfinal loss to the Swedes.

“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our national team players,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a press release last week. “Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.”

Solo’s punishment also took into account previous incidents involving the sometimes incendiary goalie. Solo was previously banned for 30 days in early 2015 due to her conduct.

“Taking into consideration the past incidents involving Hope, as well as the private conversations we’ve had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a U.S. national team member, U.S. Soccer determined this is the appropriate disciplinary action,” Gulati said in the press release.

Solo is the U.S.’ career leader in goalie caps (202) and wins (152) and shutouts (102).

Solo, 35, has played every minute in goal for the U.S. at the last three Olympics and last two World Cups, totaling 2,790 minutes.

VIDEO: Top soccer moments from Rio Olympics