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Hope Solo
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Hope Solo: I wouldn’t go to Olympics if I had to choose today

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U.S. goalie Hope Solo said she would not go to the Rio Olympics if she had to choose today, citing being uncomfortable with the current situation in Brazil including the Zika virus, according to SI.com.

Pregnant women are at risk from the mosquito-borne, Brazil-based virus, Rio Games organizers medical director Dr. Joao Grangeiro said last week, according to The Associated Press.

It has sometimes been associated with a brain birth defect.

Olympic soccer matches will be held not only in Rio but also several other Brazilian cities that may have more mosquitoes and a greater Zika risk.

“No athlete competing in Rio should be faced with this dilemma,” Solo, a two-time Olympic champion, said, according to SI.com. “Female professional athletes already face many different considerations and have to make choices that male professional athletes don’t.

“We accept these particular choices as part of being a woman, but I do not accept being forced into making the decision between competing for my country and sacrificing the potential health of a child, or staying home and giving up my dreams and goals as an athlete. Competing in the Olympics should be a safe environment for every athlete, male and female alike. Female athletes should not be forced to make a decision that could sacrifice the health of a child.”

Grangeiro said the athletes would not be at risk during the Olympics in August, that there will be fewer mosquitoes in Brazil’s winter (opposite the U.S. summer), according to the AP.

“We will not have an epidemic or pandemic situation,” Grangeiro said, according to the AP. “We can’t say we won’t have any cases [during the Games], but we see this as a minimal risk.”

Solo and the U.S. women’s soccer team begin their Olympic qualifying tournament Wednesday (on NBC Sports Live Extra, full schedule here).

MORE: U.S. women’s soccer named 20-player Olympic qualifying roster

Lionel Messi out of Rio Olympics, but Carlos Tevez possible, report says

Lionel Messi
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Lionel Messi will not be one of Argentina’s over-age selections for its Rio Olympic soccer roster, national team manager Gerardo Martino said in a radio interview, according to O Globo.

That agrees with what Martino said in December, when he didn’t see Messi’s inclusion as feasible on the Olympic roster.

Messi, then 21, earned Olympic gold with Argentina at Beijing 2008. He may be used for the Argentina national team at Copa America Centenario in June rather than the Olympics in August.

Martino is considering making 2004 Olympic champion and longtime Argentina national team striker Carlos Tevez one of the three over-age players in Rio, according to O Globo.

All but three players on an 18-man Rio Olympic soccer squad must be born on or after Jan. 1, 1993.

MORE SOCCER: Brazil taps favorites for over-age Olympic players

NBC to stream all 15 matches of CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying

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All 15 matches of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament will be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra, in addition to up to four matches airing on NBCSN. The eight-team tournament takes place from Feb. 10-21 in Houston and Frisco, Texas, with the top two teams advancing to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The all-important semifinal featuring the United States — assuming the heavily favored U.S. women, who are three-time defending Olympic gold medalists, make the semifinal — will be aired live on NBCSN on Feb. 19. The tournament’s two semifinal winners will advance to this summer’s Olympics on NBC.

NBCSN will also air the United States’ final group-stage match against Puerto Rico on Feb. 15 live at 8:30 p.m. ET. The United States’ group-stage match against Mexico on Feb. 13 will be aired on delay at 9:30 p.m. ET, and the tournament final on Feb. 21 will air at 11 p.m. ET.

CONCACAF approached NBC about broadcasting the tournament just over two weeks before it is set to kick off. Such a quick turnaround made for extremely limited TV windows, which are scheduled months in advance.

The U.S. women will compete in Group A in Frisco, Texas, against Mexico, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. Canada — the other team favored to advance to the Olympics — will compete in Group B in Houston, Texas, against Trididad & Tobago, Guatemala and Guyana.

New Zealand qualified for the Olympics earlier this week, joining hosts Brazil and Colombia from South America, France and Germany from Europe, and South Africa and Zimbabwe from Africa. The final five spots at this summer’s Olympics will be filled by two CONCACAF teams, two teams from Asia and the winner of a four-team playoff in March between Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands to determine the final European bid.

2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship Schedule

Frisco, Texas – Toyota Stadium
Houston, Texas – BBVA Compass Stadium
Times U.S. Central (U.S. Eastern in parentheses)

FIRST ROUND
Group A: USA, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica
Group B: Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana

Wednesday, Feb. 10 (Frisco)
Puerto Rico vs. Mexico                                   5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
USA vs. Costa Rica                                    7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)

Thursday, Feb. 11 (Houston)
Guatemala vs. Trinidad & Tobago                  5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
Canada vs. Guyana                                           7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)

Saturday, Feb. 13 (Frisco)
Costa Rica vs. Puerto Rico                              12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m.)
USA vs. Mexico                                                 3 p.m. (4 p.m.) NBCSN at 9:30 p.m. ET

Sunday, Feb. 14 (Houston)
Guyana vs. Guatemala                                     12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m.)
Trinidad vs. Canada                                          3 p.m. (4 p.m.)

Monday, Feb. 15 (Frisco)
Mexico vs. Costa Rica                                       5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
USA vs. Puerto Rico                                          7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.) LIVE on NBCSN

Tuesday, Feb. 16 (Houston)
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guyana                         5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
Canada vs. Guatemala                                      7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)

SEMIFINALS

Friday, Feb. 19 (Houston)
Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up          4:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m.) ***
Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up          7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.) ***

FINAL

Sunday, Feb. 21 (Houston)
Semifinal winners                                            4 p.m. (5 p.m.) NBCSN at 11 p.m.

***USA’s semifinal, should the USA advance, will air LIVE on NBCSN

MORE: Sydney Leroux joins long list of World Cup players out of Olympics