Monday, January 23, 2017

The Murky Side of Hope Solo

Hope Amelia Solo, the gorgeous looking cover girl of American sport, often the darling of the United States Women's football team IS also the perpetrator of an assorted array of various shenanigans over the years, which has unfortunately damaged both her sporting and celebrity image.

Here are a list of some of Hope's transgressions over the years?


Solo was the starting goalkeeper for the United States in the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China.
Heading into the semi-final match against Brazil, U.S. coach Greg Ryan benched Solo in favor of 36-year-old veteran U.S. keeper Briana Scurry, who had a strong history of performance against the Brazilians but had not played a complete game in three months. Scurry had a bad match, and Brazil ran away with the game in a 4-0 win over the United States.
Solo was unable to keep her frustration under wraps, and launched a tirade against the coach and Scurry: "There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves," she said. "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."
Following her outburst Solo released an apologetic statement the following day but Greg Ryan announced that Solo would not be with the team and would not play in the third-place match against Norway the following day. Team captain Kristine Lilly stated that the decision on Solo was made by the team as a group.


In 2008, it was announced Solo would be the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In a reversal of roles from the 2004 Olympics, Briana Scurry did not make the team, though she was an alternate. On 21 August, the U.S. women's team won the gold medal by defeating Brazil 1–0 in extra time, in no small measure due to Solo's outstanding performance in goal. After the team won gold, Solo appeared on NBC Today Show, and she stated in a 2012 article appearing in ESPN The Magazine that she was drunk while on air:-
"When we were done partying, we got out of our dresses, got back into our stadium coats and, at 7 a.m with no sleep, went on the Today show drunk. Needless to say, we looked like hell."


Solo apparently didn't learn her lesson after the 2007 incident with Scurry. Solo signed with WPS expansion team, Atlanta Beat in May 2010. However following a play-off loss against Washington Freedom in September 2010, Solo took to social media and laid down a blistering Twitter attack directed on two fronts, accusing Boston Breakers supporters of offensive chanting and racist remarks towards a teammate, then questioning the integrity of match officials and the league itself.
"It's official, the refs are straight bad," she said (via The Washington Post). "It's clear the league wanted DC in the playoffs. I have truly never seen anything like this. It's sad. I am done playing in a league where the game is no longer in control of the players."
According to The Washington Post, those comments (among others in her tirade) earned her a $2,500 fine, eight hours of community service, and a one-game suspension from her team.


Leading up to the Summer Olympics, Solo received a public warning from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after a 15 June urine test concluded the banned substance Canrenone had been detected. Solo said in a statement she had been prescribed a pre-menstrual medication and was not aware it contained any banned substances. She cooperated with the USADA and provided them with the necessary information to prove that it was a mistake. Her story checked out and she was cleared with a public warning. The positive test did not require Solo to withdraw from any pre-Olympic matches.

During the 2012 summer Olympics in London, Solo raised eyebrows when she went on the record about the sex, drinking, and other debauchery that happens inside the Olympic Village. She told quite the wild tale to ESPN magazine: "I've seen people having sex right out in the open. On the grass, between buildings, people are getting down and dirty." Solo also admitted to sneaking celebrities and other non-Olympians into the Village after-hours

Hope Solo can't even get married without some sort of incident. Early on the morning of her wedding day on 12 November 2012, Solo, her brother Marcus Solo, and her husband-to-be Jerramy Stevens were involved in an alleged drunken altercation during a soiree at her home. Around 3a.m, Marcus made a series of four calls to 911 to request medical assistance resulting from a brawl involving a stun gun. According to ABC News, a female house guest suffered injuries to her hip, Hope had a bloody elbow, Marcus had blood on his forehead and knees, and police said Stevens "appeared to be hiding" between the bed and the wall of the mater bedroom. Authorities believed Stevens caused Hope's injuries and arrested him for domestic violence assault, reported ABC News. The pair wed later that same day, and police reportedly dropped the charges when the alleged victims refused to co-operate.


In 2014, Solo was one of the victims of the iCloud leaks of celebrity photos, during which several nude pictures of her were leaked online. She expressed solidarity with the other women affected and criticized the perpetrators: "This act goes beyond the bounds of human decency"

On 21 June 2014, Solo was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault in the fourth degree; one against her half-sister and the other against her nephew. At the police station, while cops were trying to book her into jail, ESPN said Solo "was so combative that she had to be forced to the ground, prompting her to yell at one officer, you're such a b***h. You're scared of me because you know that if the handcuffs were off, I'd kick your ass." When asked by an officer to remove a necklace, Solo reportedly "told the officer that the piece of jewellery was worth more than he made in a year." She was booked under her married name of Hope Amelia Stevens.
After pleading not guilty, she was released the following day. In August, her trial was scheduled for 4 November 2014, but this was later delayed until 20 January 2015. On 30 December 2014, the judge ordered more depositions from the defendants and delayed a decision on whether charges against Solo would be dropped until 6 January 6 2015.

Following her arrest, Solo sat out one game for the Seattle Reign and the NWSL allowed her to continue playing soccer through the end of the 2014 season. There was some debate in the media about whether this exemplified a double standard in professional American sports.


On 13 January 2015, the judge dismissed the assault charges against Solo based on a lack of cooperation from both alleged victims
However, prosecutors filed an appeal with the Superior Court of Washington. Prosecutors were scheduled to file their argument by 13 July 2015, with the defense due to respond by 10 August 2015. Oral arguments were then scheduled for 11 September 2015.
The charges were reinstated in October 2015. On 8 June 2016, KING5 Seattle reported that the state appeals court denied a discretionary review to dismiss the reinstated domestic violence charges. Solo can appeal the ruling to the Washington state Supreme Court

During the semi-final match of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada between the United States and Germany, she used a stalling tactic - almost to the point of impropriety. Solo wasted a lot of time pointing to the referees and her teammates, then taking a long drink of water and even pouring some down her neck.
The tactic worked: as the tournament's high scorer, Célia Šašić, missed her penalty kick, to keep the game scoreless. This marked the first time a German team, men's or women's, had missed a penalty in a World Cup. The US went on to defeat Germany and lift the World Cup trophy and Solo received the Golden Glove trophy as the best goalkeeper.

During a training camp for the U.S. women's national team in 2015, Solo reportedly slipped away from the facilities in a U.S. soccer team van for a rendezvous with her husband, former Seattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens. Allegedly, Stevens was too sloshed to be driving, and the pair were pulled over by police in Manhattan Beach, Califiornia. Stevens was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, reported ESPN W. Solo wasn't arrested, but the run-in with cops was embarrassing to the national team and coaches, particularly because they didn't learn about the incident until it was reported on TMZ. As a result,
Solo found herself serving yet another 30-day suspension from the national team.


At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Solo found herself at the center of two controversies that angered many soccer fans around the world. First, she became the target of offended Brazilians after she posted pictures on Twitter of her mosquito net and an arsenal of bug repellent, with the hashtag #zikaproof. Brazilian soccer fans responded by hounding Solo during the U.S. Team's matches at the Olympics. Each time Solo touched the ball, they chanted "Zika" at the top of their lungs.
Solo attracted more controversy in the United States' quarter-final defeat by Sweden. During the penalty shootout she caused an interruption of several minutes when changing her gloves before Sweden's final kick, in an apparent act of gamesmanship. Lisa Dahlkvist was seen to laugh at Solo's antics, before calmly converting the penalty to eliminate the United States.
Following the match Solo called her opponents "a bunch of cowards" in reference to their ultra-defensive tactics, adding "The best team did not win today, I strongly, firmly believe that."
The remark was made to Grant Wahl (an American sports journalist) in the raw aftermath of the defeat, part of a wide-ranging interview in which she also praised her team's Scandinavian conquerors. The comments sparked outrage from athletes, coaches, and fans around the world.
The International Olympic Committee called Solo's comments "disappointing" but said she was unlikely to face formal disciplinary action adding: "People are free to say those things. We wouldn’t stop their right to express themselves, within boundaries, obviously." Swedish coach Pia Sundhage was more blunt in her assessment: "I don't give a crap. I'm going to Rio, she's going home" and later said, "I think she was just stressed, and that she did not really mean it."

On 24 August 2016, following Solo's comments at the Rio Olympics, US Soccer suspended Solo for six months and terminated her national team contract, making it her second suspension from the USWNT. The governing body said that Solo's previous misconduct had influenced its decision. Solo reacted angrily, saying that her comments had been used as a pretext to force her out, due to her prominent role in the national team's campaign for equal pay.
Teammate Megan Rapinoe speculated that Solo's termination was "probably some legal strategy" on the part of US Soccer. In announcing a legal challenge to US Soccer's action, the players' lawyer Rich Nichols termed it: "excessive, unprecedented, disproportionate, and a violation of Ms. Solo’s First Amendment rights."

Friday, January 13, 2017

All the very latest football news and gossip across Europe!

With the January transfer window in full swing, there is plenty of transfer talk and a few deals have been done! Many clubs across Europe are doing their best to strengthen their squads as the second half of the season gets underway. Some clubs are trying to push on in an attempt to lift some silverware, others to consolidate their current situation, and needless to say their are plenty of clubs busy looking to bring in new personnel as they attempt to save their seasons!

Here is a round up of all the latest football news/gossip across Europe today, which includes the likes of: West Ham, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Dimitri Payet, Jack Wilshire, Alvaro Morata, Real Madrid, Lyon, Atletico Madrid, Virgil van Dijk, Patrice Evra, Robbie Brady, Southampton, Everton, PSG, Michy Batshuayi, Robert Snodgrass, Morgan Schneiderlin, Carl Jenkinson, Liverpool, Sevilla, Middlesbrough, Fulham and Slaven Bilic to name but a few!

Dimitri Payet will be sold by West Ham this month. The Hammers will hold out for the highest price they can get for the 29-year-old, who is refusing to play for the club, according to manager Slaven Bilic. Payet has reportedly told West Ham he wants to return to France for "personal reasons" - Daily Mirror

Premier League leaders Chelsea will move for 29-year-old West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet, who Hammers boss Slaven Bilic says is refusing to play for the club - The Sun

PSG want to sign Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi. The Belgian, who signed from Marseille for £33m in the summer, is yet to start a Premier League game for Antonio Conte's side, making 12 substitute appearances - L'Equipe (French nationwide daily newspaper devoted to sport)

Manchester City, Everton and Italian side AC Milan are monitoring the future of Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere. The 25-year-old is on loan at Bournemouth and his contract with the Gunners expires next season - Daily Star

According to latest rumours coming from Italian sources, Liverpool and German international defensive midfielder Emre Can, who turned 23 just yesterday, has become a main target for Juventus. Can is currently on a deal with The Reds until June 2018, the player is likely to cost about 16 million euros -

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been speaking to Mesut Ozil's agent, and says he's very relaxed about the contract situation with the German -

Crystal Palace are close to signing former 35 year-old Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra - Sky in Italy, via Sky Sports

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is preparing to make a bid for 24 year-old Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata - OK Diario (Spanish digital newspaper

Jeff Schlupp has joined Crystal Palace on a four and a half year deal from Leicester City. He will be available to play in Palace’s match at West Ham tomorrow -

Everton have confirmed the signing of Morgan Schneiderlin from Manchester United -

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke will block any efforts by manager Sam Allardyce to offload him to West Brom - Daily Mirror

Sevilla are the latest club to cool their interest in signing Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho. The Reds are thought to want around £20m for the French international centre back. However, several clubs, including Southampton and Swansea, have been unwilling to match his wages, understood to be around £105,000 a week -

Jesse Lingard has agreed a new Manchester United contract worth £95,000 per week-

Eddie Howe has said there have been no talks with Chelsea about John Terry going to Bournemouth on loan -

Lyon are the only club trying to sign Manchester United winger Memphis Depay, 22, on a permanent deal but have offered substantially less than the £15m asking price - ESPN and

Arsenal full-back Carl Jenkinson looks set to go on loan to Crystal Palace, with a deal expected in the next two or three days. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: “With Carl, yes, there is a possibility that he will move, in the next two or three days.” -

Stoke manager Mark Hughes has revealed talks have reopened with West Brom in a bid to finally thrash out a deal for Saido Berahino. West Brom Head Coach Tony Pulis says it's not just Stoke interested in signing striker Saido Berahino -

Burnley have made an offer worth up to £13m for Norwich winger Robbie Brady, 24. The Republic of Ireland international is also wanted by Crystal Palace and Sunderland - Daily Mirror

Burnley and Leicester have bid around £10m for Norwich midfielder Robbie Brady. The 24-year-old is reportedly valued at £13m by the EFL Championship side, with Hull City due 25 per cent of any deal. Crystal Palace, Sunderland and Aston Villa are also reportedly interested in Brady - Daily Mail

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, 25, is believed to be a transfer target for Everton - Daily Star

Dutch international winger Luciano Narsingh (26), has officially joined Swansea City from PSV Eindhoven on a deal until June 2019, after four seasons with the Eredivisie club -

Wolfsburg are weighing up the chance of signing 29 year-old Argentinian forward Mauro Matias Zarate from Fiorentina. The former Inter Milan, Lazio and West Ham player has a contract with Fiorentina until June 2018, and has recently started new contract talks with the Serie A club - Corriere dello Sport - Stadio (Italian national sports newspaper)

Simone Zaza has accepted an offer from Valencia, according to Sky in Italy. The Juventus striker, currently on loan at West Ham, will move on loan to the Spanish side for 2m euros, with an obligation to buy for an extra 16m euros - Sky in Italy

Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce has made an initial £6m bid for Sunderland full-back Patrick van Aanholt, 26, who is rated at £10m by the Black Cats - Daily Mail

David Moyes has admitted Sunderland have knocked back a bid from Crystal Palace for Patrick van Aanholt. Sky sources understand the bid to be in the region of £6-7m -

Hull City have announced the signing of Everton's froward Oumar Niasse on a six-month loan and midfielder Evandro Goebel on a permanent deal from Porto. Everton forward Niasse will be available for the clash with Bournemouth tomorrow, while the Goebel deal is down to international clearance.
Niasse, who has had a torrid time since joining Everton from Lokomotic Moscow, will be at the KCOM Stadium until the end of the season -

Aitor Karanka would like to keep Ben Gibson at Middlesbrough for his entire career amid speculation in the British press that Chelsea are lining him up as a £30m replacement for John Terry -

Middlesbrough are closing in on the signing of Bojan from Stoke. It's understood Stoke would want around £12m if the deal were to be a permanent move. West Brom made an enquiry earlier in the transfer window. Daily Star and

West Brom are set to join West Ham in the race for Hull's Robert Snodgrass. The Scot, 29, has rejected a new contract offer at Hull, while West Ham have had a bid rejected for Snodgrass - Daily Mirror

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admits Tom Carroll could be set to leave the club, due to a lack of first team opportunities -

Derby County midfielder Will Hughes has signed a new contract with the club until 2020 -

Championship side Leeds have rejected offers of £7m for full-back Charlie Taylor, 23, from Premier League sides West Brom, Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace - Guardian

Atletico Madrid midfielder Tiago has revealed that he turned down three offers from elsewhere after coach Diego Simeone told him to stay at the club. Recent reports from Spain claimed that the Portuguese midfielder, who is out of contract at the end of the season, was contemplating leaving the club to head to China-

Sheffield United have announced the signing of Daniel Lafferty from Burnley with the defender penning a two-and-a-half year deal at Bramall Lane for an undisclosed fee -

Norwich boss Alex Neil has been chatting with the media and has confirmed the club are in talks with Swansea over the transfer of Martin Olsson -

Brentford’s valuation of striker Scott Hogan has still not been met, despite bids having been received from more than one club. Hogan trained yesterday and today and will be in the squad to face Newcastle at Griffin Park tomorrow. It is understood the club value him at around £15m, with a 30 per cent sell on clause due to his former club Rochdale -

Aston Villa are eyeing up a bid for Fulham's Tom Cairney. The midfielder, 25, is valued at around £10m, and was sold by Villa manager Steve Bruce while at Hull three years ago. Newcastle are also reportedly keen on Cairney - Daily Mirror

Fulham midfielder Jozabed has joined La Liga side Celta Vigo on loan for the remainder of the season -

Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has confirmed that Chris Martin is available again for selection after refusing to play since Boxing Day -

David Davis has signed a new three-and-a-half year deal with Birmingham City, the club announced this afternoon -

Aberdeen have rejected a reported £500,000 bid from Cardiff for winger Jonny Hayes -

Doncaster Rovers have signed goalkeeper Ian Lawlor from Premier League giants Manchester City. The 22-year-old failed to make a senior appearance during seven years at City, although he has gained first-team experience during loan spells at Barnet and Bury -