Goalkeeper Hope Solo has been suspended from the U.S. national soccer team for 30 days and sent home from the January training camp for disciplinary reasons less than five months before this summer’s women’s World Cup.
The penalties, announced Wednesday by U.S. Soccer, follow an incident in the early morning hours Monday when Solo’s husband, Jerramy Stevens, was arrested for driving under the influence near the soccer team’s Manhattan Beach hotel.
Solo, who was a passenger in the car, was not charged in the incident, which took place at 1:23 a.m. But U.S. Soccer officials felt Solo exercised poor judgment, both in staying out so late and in getting in the car with an impaired driver.
“Hope made a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. Soccer and her teammates,” Coach Jill Ellis said. “We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.”
Solo’s suspension means she will not accompany the team to Europe for exhibition games against France and England in February. After that Ellis and other U.S. Soccer officials will meet and decide whether to reinstate Solo.
Solo released a statement on Twitter accepting the decision.
"I accept and respect the Federation's decision, and more importantly, I apologize for disappointing my teammates, coaches and the Federation who have always supported me," Solo said in the statement. "I think it's best for me to take a break, decompress from the stress of the last several months, and come back mentally and physically ready to positively contribute to the team."
The U.S. has three other goalkeepers in camp this winter. During last fall’s World Cup qualifying tournament, Ellis started Ashlyn Harris in Solo’s place against Haiti and Harris didn't give up a goal. Veteran Nicole Barnhart, who did not appear in a national team game last year, started 20 matches in 2010-11 while Solo was recovering from shoulder surgery, going 14-3-3.
Monday’s incident occurred less than a week after domestic abuse charges against Solo were dismissed by a judge in Washington state. Solo was not sanctioned by U.S. Soccer in that case because she was not on assignment with the national team camp and the facts in the matter were in dispute.