This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
The two-time World Cup Golden Glove winner compared the United States women’s national team to a “bad girls club” when she first joined.
Former United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) goalkeeper Hope Solo says the team has a “very privileged white culture,” and recounted her experience of being bullied when she first joined the group.
She only made her USWNT debut in 2000 and became one of the best goalkeepers the game has ever seen, winning two Olympic gold medals and the 2015 World Cup, while winning 202 international matches in her career.
The goalkeeper was also no stranger to the controversy, as her contract with US Soccer ended in 2016 after she called Sweden “a bunch of cowards” for their defensive flair in their shocking Olympic quarter-final victory over the USWNT.
Speaking in Players BBC Sport and COPA90 podcast, He only recounted the difficult experiences he had when he first joined the USWNT.
“We were bullied, let’s be honest,” Solo said. “You’re supposed to be competitive and you want to join the team and be the starter, but at the same time if you have that feeling of confidence in yourself, it’s not always good. You have to win every step.
“When we grew up in the team it was fierce. People weren’t nice to us, people weren’t welcoming, they didn’t invite you to sit at the table. It was really difficult growing up in the national team for me in a social aspect besides learning the game. It is a much more open and welcoming environment [now]. “
Also featured on the podcast was Carli Lloyd, who is still in the USWNT after a decorated career that has seen her win two World Cups and consecutive FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2015 and 2016.
Lloyd agreed with Solo’s experience in the team ranks.
“Hope and I, coming from the international team, it was very difficult,” Lloyd said. “I would go home to my room and cry afterwards because people were a little mean to me. It was just the competitive nature.
“When I first joined the team, I had a bit of Jersey’s arrogance. I thought, ‘I don’t care who you are, or what you’ve accomplished or done, I’m going for your place.’
He only added that there was also a racial dynamic at play with the USWNT, as soccer in the United States is very often a more accessible sport for high-income communities.
“When you grew up on the national team, there was a bad girl club,” Solo added. “It was an evil girls club. Most of the players come from wealthy white families. That’s the culture of the United States women’s national team. It’s a very privileged white culture.
“I remember Carli and I were always talking about the culture, ‘We have to change this culture.’ Carli and I were very welcoming, we were not bullies. We were very nice to the small children who came, but I think it is because ‘We were intimidated. We always wanted to change that culture, but in the end I’m not sure we will succeed. “