In the wake of the U.S. women’s soccer team’s loss to Sweden on penalties Friday, Hope Solo’s comments that “we played a bunch of cowards” have stirred up a lot of attention and criticism from former U.S. players and analysts. ESPN analyst Julie Foudy, who was briefly a teammate of Solo’s (Foudy retired in 2004, Solo joined the national team in 2000, but in a lesser role at first), called Solo’s comments “classless” in a SportsCenter appearance later Friday:
Here’s a transcription, via Ryan Phillips of The Big Lead:
“I shook my head. I thought, why is that necessary. There’s a long history and tradition with our national team of respecting others when you lose, so I don’t agree with it at all. I think it’s pretty obvious that Sweden took a tactic that most outmatched teams take in soccer, it’s been happening for centuries in fact.
“They played a lower defensive line, I wouldn’t even call it a bunker because they did come out, it wasn’t like they bunkered the entire game. To call them cowards for playing a tactically smart game is ridiculous and classless, and it really doesn’t represent the house that we built with the U.S. team.”
Danielle Slaton, the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports analyst who’s working as a NBC soccer analyst in Rio and briefly played with Solo (Slaton played on the U.S. national team from 1999-2003), went off on Solo as well during NBC’s coverage, unleashing a take so hot it caused our Matt Clapp to drop his iPad while recording it:
“It’s ridiculous,” Slaton said. “It’s not cowardice, it’s discipline. They had a game plan and they stuck to it. I get that she’s frustrated, I get that that’s maybe not the result she wanted, but I disagree with her fully, wholeheartedly. Credit goes to Sweden, and quite frankly, Hope Solo needs to learn how to be a gracious loser.”
If only Slaton had had a mic to drop there. We’ll see if the blowback against Solo continues in the coming days.