Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hope Solo

I've been debating whether to post something on the Hope Solo incident for a few weeks. It really has nothing to do with publishing though, so skip this if you don't like soccer. As for me, I am a rather rabid soccer fan. I watch at least three matches a week, and support both the Men's and Women's National Team vociferously.

The WUSNT didn't perform well in the World Cup, barely winning it's initial matches before losing to Brazil 4-0 in the semifinals. There also was significant controversy surrounding the recently fired coach, Greg Ryan, and Hope Solo, the goalkeeper. Solo had been the starting goalkeeper for the team for over two years and had a superb track record. Ryan then made the unprecedented move of switching goalies for the Brazil match. For chemistry reasons this is simply not done - the goalie acts as the manager for the whole defense and it takes time and practice to act as a cohesive unit. In addition, rustiness is very common for goalies - action in games is absolutely necessary to keep sharp. Finally, with the exception of only one goal, Solo had been superb for the team throughout the World Cup and in top form in every game she's played for more than two years.

So of course the team loses, and of course Solo says the switch was a mistake. You don't become a professional athlete by being a shrinking violet. Perhaps she should have kept her mouth shut (even though she was right), but what followed was in my opinion an even worse display of immaturity.

Check out Bonnie Ford's article on ESPN Soccernet for more.


Stephen Parrish said...

By contrast, the German goalie had a perfect record in the tournament and is now a national hero.

The U.S. went on to win their consolation game against Norway and take third place. Strange that ending up third best in the world causes heads to roll. Imagine a college basketball coach (who competes on the national stage, not the world stage) losing her job because she "only" made the Final Four.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. Briana is a great goalie but too rusty at the time. I think there's more here than we've been told. More than just a bad coaching decision, especially since the team rallied around the coach, and Solo was given no hope to continue with the team.

Hope it gets resolved and she returns.

Meanwhile, it looks like there may be a book in there.

We get the Big 12 Soccer championship in the Alamo City starting Nov. 7. The Aggies and Longhorns are rated in the Top 10. I'm looking forward to the game.

Chumplet said...

It's a tough world when you're at the top.

I don't follow soccer as much as I used to, but I find the dynamics interesting compared to professional hockey. The players run around like chickens with their heads cut off and the media blames the goalie or the coach. Heads roll, usually the coach's.

Goalies are switched around according to how many pucks they stop. It isn't a shock when the number one netminder is pulled in the middle of the game, and I've never seen a goalie criticize the coach's decision. Unless it's Dominic Hasek, of course.