Two months after U.S. Soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo’s domestic violence arrest became a national issue, a well-known teammate is speaking out, voicing her concern about the situation and the U.S. women’s national team’s place in the conversation on domestic violence.
“It’s hard because we’re in a tricky position because we’re teammates with Hope and we also are role models so we know how massive and we know how big of an issue this is,” veteran Abby Wambach said in an interview Monday night after leading the United States to a 6-0 victory over Haiti in Women’s World Cup qualifying at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
“That’s not lost on us by any means. But I think on so many different levels, our hands are tied. U.S. Soccer made the decisions that they made and we’re here to play soccer, we’re here to qualify, we know that it wasn’t so easy the last time around, and so we are in a tough position.
“I can understand why people ask questions, but at the end of the day, when decisions are made and we’re not in those positions to make decisions, you have to go with what U.S. Soccer and Sunil (Gulati, the organization’s president) has decided.”
Solo is awaiting trial on two counts of misdemeanor domestic violence for allegedly attacking her 17-year-old nephew and her sister in her sister’s Kirkland, Wash., home in June. U.S. Soccer’s decision to allow her to keep playing for the national team in exhibition matches during the summer and now in qualifying this fall for the 2015 World Cup in Canada has been scrutinized in the wake of the NFL’s decision to suspend stars Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson for their roles, admitted or alleged, in similar incidents.
“The fact that this has taken off with the NFL, I understand it, because it is a huge, huge topic,” Wambach said. “We want to be good role models, and that’s something that’s super important to everybody on the team.”
Wambach did not specifically say whether she would have allowed Solo to play or not play as she awaits trial. Hers was a measured and thoughtful tone, balancing concern for a longtime and vital teammate with her career-long passion for inspiring children through sports.
But she did say she was hopeful that Solo would be exonerated.
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