Hope Amelia Solo (born July 30, 1981) is an American former soccer goalkeeper. She was a goalkeeper for the United States women's national soccer team from 2000 to 2016, and is a World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Solo was born in Richland, Washington on July 30, 1981 to Judy Lynn (née Shaw) and Jeffrey Solo. Her father, an Italian-American Vietnam War veteran, who was in and out of her life as a child and teenager, taught her how to play soccer at a young age. When Solo was seven, her father picked her and her brother Marcus up to go to a baseball game in the nearby city of Yakima, but ended up driving over three hours west to Seattle, where they stayed for several days at a hotel. Solo described how it seemed like a vacation at first, but soon realized it was not. Police later found them at a downtown bank and arrested Jeffrey for alleged kidnapping. Although her parents had divorced when she was six and she lived with her mother, Solo maintained a close relationship with her father after reconnecting with him during her college years at the University of Washington. He continued to be a major influence in her life until his death of a heart attack in June 2007.
Solo played for U.S. junior national soccer teams before joining the senior U.S. national team in 2000. Her senior debut came in an 8–0 win over Iceland at Davidson, North Carolina in April 2000. In 2004, Solo joined the national team at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens as an alternate behind primary goalkeeper Briana Scurry and backup Kristin Luckenbill. Solo has been the team's first choice goalkeeper since 2005. She holds the national team record for longest undefeated streak as a goalkeeper with 55 games from March 7, 2002 to July 16, 2008.
Following her college career, Solo was selected in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2003 WUSA Draft by the Philadelphia Charge. She spent most of her first professional season on the bench playing in eight games. Solo started the last three games of the season and earned her first professional shutout against the Atlanta Beat. She also shut out eventual league champions, the Washington Freedom led by top scorers, Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach. After the WUSA folded following the 2003 season just six days before the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, Solo moved to Göteborg, Sweden in February 2004 to play for Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC in the Swedish Premier Division, the top division of women's soccer in Sweden. For ten months, she played in two games a week, making 19 appearances in goal for Göteborg in 2004. In 2005, she played for Olympique Lyonnais in the French First Division. She made seven appearances for the French club. Solo said of her experience in Europe, "I played in Europe and it was a great experience, not just because of my teammates and the coaches we had, but from the fans and the city itself – I played in Gothenburg and I played in Lyon and soccer was everywhere. At that time in my life, it really jump-started my career and really helped me find myself as a person and player."
In an impromptu interview following the match, a clearly upset Solo criticized Ryan's decision. "It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. And the fact of the matter is it's not 2004 anymore. It's not 2004. And it's 2007, and I think you have to live in the present. And you can't live by big names. You can't live in the past. It doesn't matter what somebody did in an Olympic gold medal game in the Olympics three years ago. Now is what matters, and that's what I think." Many viewed her comments as being critical of Scurry's performance, although Solo released an apologetic statement the following day saying that was not her intent. On September 29, 2007, coach Greg Ryan announced that Solo would not be with the team and would not play in the third-place match against Norway the following day. Team captain Kristine Lilly stated that the decision on Solo was made by the team as a group. The U.S. went on to win against Norway 4–1.
Solo was named to the U.S. women's national soccer team roster for the post-World Cup tour, but did not attend the first workout ahead of the first game against Mexico. Even though the players' contract with the federation stipulated that anyone on the World Cup roster had the right to play in the tour, she did not play in any of the three games against Mexico, being replaced by Briana Scurry for the first and third matches, and Nicole Barnhart for the second. The third match against Mexico, on October 20, 2007, marked the end of the U.S. women's national team's 2007 season. The team regrouped in January 2008 to begin preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Ryan left the team after his contract was not renewed in December 2007.
On June 23, 2008, it was announced Solo would be the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In a reversal of roles from the 2004 Olympics, Briana Scurry did not make the team, though she was an alternate. On August 21, the U.S. women's team won the gold medal by defeating Brazil 1–0 in extra time, in no small measure due to Solo's performance as she stopped an energetic Brazilian attack, making save after save. After the team won gold, Solo appeared on NBC Today Show, and she stated in a 2012 article appearing in ESPN The Magazine that she was drunk while on air. "When we were done partying, we got out of our dresses, got back into our stadium coats and, at 7 a.m. with no sleep, went on the Today show drunk."
On September 16, 2008, Solo was one of three national team players allocated to the Saint Louis Athletica in the WPS as part of the 2008 WPS Player Allocation, with the new league slated to begin play in April 2009. Solo let in six goals in the first four games as Athletica got off to a very slow 0–2–2 start in their first season. She conceded eight goals in her next 13 games and finished the season with eight shutouts, helping lead the Athletica from the bottom of the standings to finish second place and secure a playoff spot.
Solo played in 22 WPS matches in 2010 for both the Athletica and the Beat and was the league-leader in saves with 104. The two-time WPS All-Star also ranked among the top three in shutouts (6), wins (6), and goals against average (1.64). After the end of the 2010 season, Solo underwent surgery on her right shoulder on September 22. "These next two years are huge for the national team with the World Cup and Olympics on the horizon and I wanted to make sure that I would be giving my team and my country my best on the field," Solo said of the surgery. "I've been having some painful issues with the shoulder for a while and for a goalkeeper it's been difficult physically and mentally to play with this kind of an injury, so it was time to get it taken care of."
In May 2010, the Saint Louis Athletica folded and Solo signed with WPS expansion team, Atlanta Beat, along with her St. Louis teammates, Tina Ellertson and Eniola Aluko. As her previous jersey number was taken (1), she wore 78 for the Beat. Solo's comments on social networking website Twitter led to two separate controversies after she accused Boston Breakers supporters of offensive chanting and racist remarks toward a teammate, then questioned the integrity of match officials and the league itself following the Beat's 1–0 defeat to Washington Freedom. The second outburst resulted in a $2,500 fine and one-game suspension.
In 2011, Solo was a contestant on the 13th season of the Dancing with the Stars television series. Her partner was Maksim Chmerkovskiy and they were eliminated in the semifinal round.
Solo has been featured on the covers of Fitness, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, TV Guide, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, and Vogue. In 2011, she appeared nude in The Body Issue of ESPN The Magazine. Of the experience, she said, "I'm an athlete—that's all I am. If a sex symbol is now a top female athlete, I think that's pretty amazing and it shows how far our country has come from the stick-thin models, from what you see in most magazines."
Solo has signed endorsement deals with Seiko, Simple Skincare, Nike, BlackBerry, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and Gatorade. In July 2011, she signed a one-year endorsement deal with Bank of America. In September 2011, she starred in an EA Sports television commercial along with professional basketball player Steve Nash, promoting FIFA 12. In the same month, she co-starred with national teammate Alex Morgan in a television commercial promoting ESPN's SportsCenter. In 2014, she was featured in a promotional piece for Western Union. Solo signed with LX Ventures, Inc. and Mobio as a "social media influencer" in March 2014. In June 2016, she partnered with Organically Raw to promote their Shanti Bar line of energy and protein bars.
Solo is a representative of the Women's Sports Foundation, an organization founded by Billie Jean King that is dedicated to "advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity." She has donated her time and money to the Boys and Girls Club and made appearances at numerous charity events. In August 2011, she joined teammates Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach in a Bank of America charitable campaign at the Chicago Marathon, as $5,000 was donated to Seattle Humane Society on her behalf. In 2012, Solo was one of 15 professional athletes including Shaun Phillips, Tim Lincecum, Ray Rice and others who participated in Popchips' Game Changers program. She made appearances at several charity events and money was donated to a local charity that she selected.
Ahead of the 2011 Women's Professional Soccer season, Solo signed for MagicJack, formerly the Washington Freedom under new ownership. Between her shoulder surgery recovery, national team commitments and preparation for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, Solo missed a significant part of the season. She made four appearances for the club, tallying a total of 360 minutes. After the season ended, the club lost its franchise on October 25, 2011. The league later suspended operations in early 2012 because of legal and financial difficulties.
On February 14, 2012, it was announced that Solo had signed with the Seattle Sounders Women. Joining the club the same year were national teammates Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Sydney Leroux. Sounders Women general manager, Amy Carnell, said of the signing, "Hope is undoubtedly the best women's keeper in the game today. Her signing represents the caliber player Sounders Women's fans can expect in 2012. As the landscape of women's soccer continues to evolve, we realize the unique opportunity before us." Because of national team commitments and preparation for the 2012 Summer Olympics, Solo made three appearances for the club, tallying a total of 261 minutes. Her goals against average was 0.344, she made five saves and had one shutout. With the addition of Solo and her national team teammates, the Sounders sold out nine of their ten home matches at Starfire Stadium (capacity: 4,500). The average attendance during league matches was four times higher than the second most attended team in the league.
She has made appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, Piers Morgan Tonight, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Chelsea Lately, and Whitney. Solo was the focus of an ESPN E:60 episode in 2012. During her interview by Jeremy Schaap, she told of her experience at the 2007 World Cup as well as her childhood. In 2013, she was featured in the PBS documentary, Makers: Women Who Make America and ESPN documentary series, Nine for IX. The Nine for IX documentary, Branded, in which Solo appeared focused on the marketing of female professional athletes and the double standard that they often face with more value placed on beauty rather than their athletic excellence. Branded received the highest viewership of all of the documentaries in the series.
Solo is married to former American football player Jerramy Stevens. They have been together since mid-August 2012 when Solo returned from the Olympics. On November 12, 2012, Stevens was arrested on investigation of assault following an altercation that left Solo injured. The following day, Stevens was released after a judge determined there was not enough evidence to hold him. The couple were wed the next day. In 2014, Solo was one of the victims of the iCloud leaks of celebrity photos, during which several nude pictures of her were leaked online. She expressed solidarity with the other women affected and criticized the perpetrators: "This act goes beyond the bounds of human decency".
On August 14, 2012, after the London Olympics, Solo released her autobiography Solo: A Memoir of Hope co-authored with sports columnist and commentator Ann Killion and published by Harper Collins. In her book she provided her accounts of incidents with former U.S. national coach Greg Ryan, and her Dancing with the Stars' partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. She recounted her integration into the U.S. team with established players like Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, and Julie Foudy. Solo also revealed details of her early life. The autobiography debuted at number three on The New York Times Best Seller list in the hardcover non-fiction category—the highest ever for a book about soccer.
On January 19, 2013 it was announced that Solo was one of three members from the United States national team, along with Megan Rapinoe and Amy Rodriguez, allocated to the Seattle Reign FC for the inaugural season of the National Women's Soccer League, as part of the NWSL Player Allocation. Two months later, it was reported that she was undergoing wrist surgery and would miss about half the season because of recovery. Joining news that Amy Rodriguez would be out for the season because of pregnancy and Megan Rapinoe would be returning mid-season after a six-month stint for Olympique Lyonnais, the Reign faced a tough first half of the season and went 0–9–1 in their first ten games. With the return of Solo, Rapinoe, and some additional lineup changes made during the early summer, the Reign turned their regular season record around and finished the season in seventh place with a 5–14–3 record. Solo started in all 14 matches in which she played with a 1.357 goals against average. She made 81 saves and tallied 1,260 minutes in goal.
In March 2013, Solo underwent surgery to repair a long-standing injury in her left wrist and did not play for approximately three months. She returned to the national team in June. The team finished 2013 undefeated with a 13–0–3 record.
In October 2013 Solo was linked with a transfer to English club Manchester City. Despite the relatively high salary reportedly offered by Manchester, Reign FC coach Laura Harvey expected Solo to return to the NWSL for 2014, to safeguard her place in the national team.
On June 14, 2014, Solo tied the U.S. record for career shutouts with 71 after the team defeated France 1–0 during a friendly match in Tampa, Florida. The record was previously set by retired goalkeeper, Briana Scurry. A few months later on September 13, she set a new record with her 72nd shutout in a friendly match against Mexico that resulted in an 8–0 win for the United States. On January 21, 2015, Solo was suspended by the national team for thirty days, due to an undisclosed incident at a training camp.
On June 21, 2014, Solo was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault in the fourth degree; one against her half-sister and the other against her nephew. She was booked under her married name of Hope Amelia Stevens. After pleading not guilty, she was released the following day. In August, her trial was scheduled for November 4, 2014, but this was later delayed until January 20, 2015. On December 30, 2014, the judge ordered more depositions from the defendants and delayed a decision on whether charges against Solo would be dropped until January 6, 2015.
On January 13, 2015, the judge dismissed the charges against Solo based on a lack of cooperation from both alleged victims. Solo claimed she was defending herself from an attack by her nephew, who is 6 feet 9 inches (206 cm). However, prosecutors filed an appeal with the Superior Court of Washington. In October 2015, the prosecution prevailed in the Superior Court and the charges were reinstated. In June 2016, the state appeals court denied Solo's petition to review the case. On May 24, 2018, the city of Kirkland dismissed all domestic violence charges against her. Attorney Melissa Osman, who represents the city, wrote in court documents the circumstances of the case were "unlikely to recur", and prosecution witnesses did not want to testify.
In April 2015, Solo was named to the U.S. roster for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada by head coach Jill Ellis. Solo started and played all possible minutes (630) in all seven of the U.S.' matches, and the U.S. won the tournament, with record-breaking television viewership that topped 750 million in-home TV viewers. After giving up a goal in the 27th minute of the team's first group stage match against Australia, Solo made three crucial saves in the same match that kept her team "in the game". Her performance earned praise from her teammates and coach. She had a 540-minute shutout streak, the second longest in tournament history, and allowed three goals throughout the tournament.
Solo is featured along with her national teammates in the EA Sports' FIFA video game series starting in FIFA 16, the first time women players were included in the game. In September 2015, she was ranked by EA Sports as the #8 women's player in the game.
In 2016, Solo starred with teammates Megan Rapinoe and Crystal Dunn in a docu-series called Keeping Score broadcast by Fullscreen. The episodes followed the athletes as they prepared for the 2016 Rio Olympics and addressed issues such as equal pay and racism. The season's final episode showed her reaction after learning she had been suspended from the national team.
On July 9, 2016, Hope Solo earned her 100th international shutout, 150th career win, and 197th cap in a friendly game against South Africa at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois. This made Solo the first ever female goalkeeper in history to achieve 100 shutouts in international competition.
Solo made eight appearances for Seattle during the 2016 season before joining the national team at the 2016 Rio Olympics. After US Soccer suspended Solo and terminated her national team contract in August 2016 for saying that the Sweden women's national football team "played like cowards," she was granted "personal leave" by the Reign for the remainder of the NWSL season. She finished the season with a 0.63 GAA and 81% save percentage, including five clean sheets.
On August 24, 2016, US Soccer suspended Solo for six months and terminated her national team contract, making it her second suspension from the USWNT. The governing body said that Solo's previous misconduct had influenced its decision. Solo reacted angrily, saying that her comments had been used as a pretext to force her out, due to her prominent role in the national team's campaign for equal pay. Teammate Megan Rapinoe speculated that Solo's termination was "probably some legal strategy" on the part of US Soccer. In announcing a legal challenge to US Soccer's action, the players' lawyer Rich Nichols termed it: "excessive, unprecedented, disproportionate, and a violation of Ms. Solo’s First Amendment rights."
In February 2017, Solo signed on to serve as host for the sports medical television series, The Cutting Edge. The same month, she was featured on 60 Minutes Sports.