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WORLD CUP

Solo backs Ballon d'Or winner Hegerberg's World Cup stance

Solo backs Ballon d'Or winner Hegerberg's World Cup stance

Getty Images

Ada Hegerberg will not return to Norway duty for the World Cup in France - and Hope Solo says she is right not to do so.

Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg has the backing of former United States star Hope Solo as she continues her absence from international football through the Women's World Cup.

Lyon forward Hegerberg stepped away from representing Norway in 2017 due to frustrations with the state of the women's game in her home country.

Norway coach Martin Sjogren confirmed last month that the 23-year-old would not be available for selection during this year's World Cup, which gets under way on June 7 in Paris.

Ex-USA goalkeeper Solo, who collected 202 caps for her country and won the World Cup in 2015, supports Hegerberg's decision, believing high-profile players need to influence change in the sport.

Taking a stance

"We're not going to create the change that we want to see in women's football until people like Ada take a stance," Solo, speaking courtesy of Street Soccer USA, told Omnisport.

"It's not the easy thing to do, in life, or in football, but I admire her for it and I know it was a tougher road.

"Often times, taking that tougher road is the only way that people who come after us are going to reap the benefits from it, so she has all of my respect in the world and I hope she continues to fight and continues to change the game from the outside."

Solo is more positive about football's development in the States in recent years, claiming that the sport is strong enough without top male stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney moving to MLS.

"When we have these big-name players come to the United States, I think it brings excitement, it brings ticket sales and it brings endorsement value and marketing value to the game here in the United States," she said.

"I do have to play devil's advocate a little bit, because that's what I tend to do, but had they not come to America to play, I still think our sport has a solid foundation here in America where it would continue to be successful and it would continue to grow.

"So I am happy to see that they want to come to America because the soccer is actually adequate, it's intense and competitive, but, at the same time, no longer do I think we need anybody to build the game here in America."