Monday, October 01, 2007

Hope Solo and the Women's National Team

Hope Solo, until recently the starting goalkeeper for the United States Women's soccer team, ended a run of 300 minutes of scoreless matches, which included the following World Cup performances:

US 3-0 England
Nigeria 0-1 US
Sweden 0-2 US

How did this remarkable run of victories and scoreless performances come to an end?

You might think it was due to a loss, but it wasn't. Nor was it related to her sudden death and/or unavailability to play.


After winning three important matches leading up to the World Cup semi-final, coach Greg Ryan thought it would be a good idea to bench the goalkeeper who has led the team through these victories. Matches in which she allowed no goals.

The result?

Brazil 4-0 US

Brazil won to go to the World Cup final, leaving the US to play Norway for third place. The US won third place (4-1), and Solo was left off the squad for the match.

Third place is no consolation.

Germany took the World Cup championship.

Did the US have to settle for third place because the coach took Solo out of the semi-final match? We will never know. But I have to question the thinking of any coach who would take a winner off the team, and then watch the team lose.

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