Would You Leave Your Teammate Solo?

Fordham Reacts to U.S. Goalkeeper’s Post-Game Comments


Published: October 25, 2007

Before the start of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s semi-final World Cup match against Brazil on Sept. 27, head coach Greg Ryan controversially decided to bench goalkeeper Hope Solo, who had started the entire tournament, in favor of the smaller but more experienced back-up, Briana Scurry. The match ended up being a land-slide defeat, as the US was dealt a 4-0 loss.

After the match, a visibly disgusted Solo was pulled aside by an ESPN journalist. Solo engaged in a quick interview, blasting her coach for his decision and throwing her replacement and teammate under the bus. On Ryan’s goalie switch, she declared, “There’s no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. And the fact of the matter is, it’s not 2004 anymore…It’s 2007, and I think you have to live in the present. And you can’t live by big names. You can’t live in the past. It doesn’t matter what somebody did in an Olympic gold-medal game in the Olympics three years ago.”

After Solo’s comments picked up steam on ESPN and throughout the media, Ryan and the team’s leaders held a meeting and collectively decided to kick Solo off the team for the rest of the World Cup. The decision, as reported by team captain Kristine Lilly, was made by the team as a whole.

Since the incident, questions about what Solo, Ryan and the team as a whole should have done have been brought up by soccer coaches, players and enthusiasts alike, revealing differing opinions on the dynamics of coach-player relationships and what it means to be a teammate.

Ness Selmani, head coach of the Fordham women’s soccer team, believed Solo acted childish. “Putting down Briana Scurry was selfish, unprofessional and immature,” Selmani said. “[Her comments] showed that she is not a team player.”

Casey Sommers, FCRH ’03, assistant coach of the Fordham women’s soccer team believed Solo spoke with “pure emotion” and was not thinking about the cost of her comments.

“I do not think that she intentionally [meant to] hurt her teammates or coach,” Sommers said. “She was upset and her thoughts came out accordingly. The press caught her at a weak moment and I feel the majority of the population would have said the same thing.  It still doesn’t make it right. Unfortunately, that is human nature.”

Solo’s comments did not only attack the coach, but also her teammate Scurry. If put in Scurry’s shoes, Peter Muller, FCLC ’10, co-captain of the FCLC soccer team, would do his best to understand where his teammate was coming from.

“I would be shocked by these types of comments from a fellow teammate, but I would take them with a grain of salt because tempers always run high after a hard loss,”  Muller explained.

Though she understands the emotions involved, Colleen Brady, FCRH ’11, midfielder on the Fordham’s women soccer team, would not be as sympathetic.

“I think I would lose a lot of respect for a teammate who said mean comments about another teammate, especially publicly,” Brady said. “I would be really angry if somebody said mean things about me after a game that is supposed to be a team sport.”

The decision to kick Solo off the team for the remainder of the World Cup brought up the question of whether a united team would or should support such a decision. If faced with a Solo-esque situation, Selmani would have no business keeping a defiant teammate on his team.

“Hope Solo would be riding ‘solo’ because she would be finished with the team,” Selmani stated. “As a coach, you would involve the leaders on the team [in deciding her punishment], but just to the extent of explaining how destructive it would be for team unity if she were to stay on the team.”

Despite the United States’ third-place finish, the 2007 World Cup will most likely be remembered for Solo’s comments. Though Solo was invited back onto the team after the World Cup, the uproar caused by her comments will likely remain attached to her name and her reputation throughout her career.

In spite of Solo’s controversial sentiments, Russ Martonis, FCLC ’07, a FCLC soccer club alum, wanted to remind everyone of a fact that may have gotten lost in the Solo controversy: “It takes an entire team to lose a game, not one player.”