U.S. women’s soccer goalie Hope Solo has never shied away from controversy, but her latest attempt to confront it head on may end up having some very serious unintended consequences.
Like many other athletes who knew that they would emerge from the 2012 Olympics with a certain amount of attention and prestige, Solo timed the release of her new book, “Solo: A Memoir of Hope”, to coincide with the conclusion of the London Games. She figured that her name value would likely be at its highest point right now, and that this is when she could get the most amount of interest whatever work she put out there.
She figured right.
As folks went through the various tales that are discussed in “Solo”, one particular one jumped off the page. It was the story of how former U.S. women’s soccer coach, Greg Ryan, allegedly shoved her during a terse meeting. A meeting in which he told her that she wouldn't serve as goalie for the team's 2007 World Cup showdown versus Brazil.
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Yes, the infamous one after which Solo came out and blasted both the coaching staff and her teammates.
Here is what Solo had to say about her ex-coach, via Business Insider:
"If I had made a list of all the people I thought might coach the national team, Greg Ryan would probably have been dead last. ... He mostly faded into the background, rarely talking and never taking charge at practice. If he had any leadership skills or technical savvy, I never saw it."
And, more specifically, on the alleged shove:
"We were both silent. I had nothing left to say so I stood up to leave. Greg leaned over and pushed me back down on the couch. Hard. 'You f***ing leave when I saw you can leave,' he said."
For his part, Ryan has already come out and denied the accusation.
"This allegation is completely false," Ryan said in a prepared statement (via Yahoo! Sports). "I did not shove or push Hope as I've been accused in her book. I would have been terminated immediately by US Soccer had this allegation been true. I have openly discussed the contents of the meeting and this is the first time that this accusation has been brought to light."
So, who’s telling the truth? Solo, most likely. Far more outrageous things have happened behind closed doors than coaches shoving their athletes. We all know that Solo has a way of getting under people’s skin, and her evoking a particularly emotional response from Ryan isn’t the craziest thing in the world.
The far more fascinating element as far this situation goes is the laissez faire manner in which Solo dropped this bomb. Did she really not realize the magnitude of her accusation, or did she do it knowing full well that it would generate even more buzz for her book?
Either way, the claim is out there now.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens next.