FOOTBALL

“It was a club of bad, white and rich girls” - Hope Solo on USWNT

The World Cup winner confessed that she was bullied during her first years with the United States women’s national team during an interview with The BBC Players podcast.

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“It was a club of bad, white and rich girls” - Hope Solo on USWNT

Hope Solo is one of the best goalkeepers in the history of the United States women’s national team, winning the 2015 World Cup and two-time Olympic gold medalist. She played for the USWNT from 2000 to 2016 and during an interview with The BBC Players podcast, Solo spoke about the bullying she suffered in her first years.

“You run into a bad girl club. Most of the players come from wealthy white families. That's the culture of the women's national team. It is a very privileged white culture. People weren't nice to us. They weren't welcoming, they didn't invite you to sit at the table. It was difficult to grow up in the national team in the social aspect,” said the former player.

“I remember Carli Lloyd and I always said 'We have to change this culture.’ She and I were very welcoming, we were not bullys. We were very nice to the girls who came,” added Solo.

Solo not sure if things have changed

According to Solo, she tried to change the culture to bring everyone together and be more of a family, but since she left the national team in 2016, she is not sure if things have changed. “We always wanted to change that culture, but ultimately I’m not sure we succeeded.”

“It is a much more open and welcome environment now. It is an easier transition but I also don’t think it helps build character in a lot of these younger athletes. They do have the road paved for them a lot of the time. I have a lot of older coaches, close friends of mine in division one soccer, a lot of them don’t know how to coach the younger generations anymore.

“You cannot push them the same way you used to be able to push a really competitive athlete, somebody like Carli. You have to cater to them. It’s a completely different environment and I don’t think it’s always a good thing. I think it creates some softer athletes.”

Carli Lloyd also appeared in the podcast - she is a two-time World Cup champion who is currently part of the United States women’s national team. She has over 300 caps and she also talked about personal experiences she has been through during her time in the USWNT.

“I tell these young players, ‘you guys have it a bit easier’”, she said. “It is much more of a welcoming environment for them to come into now. Before, you were fighting and clawing your way up. But that’s what made the team great for so many years. It was not easy.