MANAUS, AMAZONAS - AUGUST 09:  Hope Solo #1 of United States prepares for their game against Colombia in the Women's Football First Round Group G match on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Amazonia Arena on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Bruno Zanardo/Getty Images)
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Hope Solo, not retiring, apologized to Sweden captain after ‘cowards’ comment


Hope Solo, who is not retiring, said a Sweden co-captain told her she didn’t need to apologize for her comments calling the Swedes “a bunch of cowards” following the U.S.’ quarterfinal loss at the Rio Olympics.

Solo, a 35-year-old suspended until February by U.S. Soccer, said she spoke to Swedish co-captain Lotta Schelin shortly after the Aug. 12 match that ended in penalty kicks. Solo and Schelin were once club teammates for a Swedish league team in 2004.

“I said to her, ‘You know, Lotta, I said something. I used the word “cowards” when talking about you guys, and I didn’t mean that. I’m so sorry,'” Solo said in a Swedish interview published Friday. “And she was like, ‘Oh, I know you, don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it.’ And she’s like, ‘Look, the American team has been in the last five championship games in the Olympics. Five championships.’ And she’s like, ‘We never have.’ She’s like, ‘So, for us to beat a better-skilled team like Brazil and like America, we had to drop back defensively.’ And she knew it, but for the most part, we just hugged and we laughed and she accepted my apology. She didn’t even think I needed to apologize.”

Solo said she wasn’t enraged, emotional or angry when she made the “cowards” comments to journalists after the match.

“I’m not a loose cannon, like I think the media projects,” Solo said. “I didn’t mean to come across that the players were cowards or the coach was a coward. I meant the style of play, it wasn’t very Olympic-spirited.

“I think Lotta Schelin, No. 8, the captain for Sweden of course, is one of the best players in the world — one of the best attacking players in the world. So it was really difficult to watch her drop back defensively, and I saw her, most of the time, in the 18-yard box in her defense.

“And I wanted her to attack me, I wanted to play against Lotta. I wanted to try to stop her shots. I love the competitive nature between America and Sweden. It was a little disappointing to see them drop back to the 50-yard line to play defense.”

Solo added that she has not spoken with Swedish coach Pia Sundhage, the former U.S. women’s national team coach, since the match.

“She coaches the other team, so it’s kind of hard to speak to Pia, or have a relationship with Pia anymore,” Solo said.

Solo said her immediate future is up in the air, joking that she’s “jobless.” Her husband, former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens, is retired after playing his last football game in 2010 at age 30.

“Retirement suits you,” Stevens recently told Solo. But Solo isn’t accepting that.

“I’ve had a lot of offers to play overseas, so maybe Sweden will welcome me back,” Solo joked.

VIDEO: Solo’s immediate reaction to six-month suspension

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