After Solo didn't show for a practice today
(though, apparently it was excused), I felt my anger about the whole situation renewed. I sent an e-message to USSF
through their web form:
To whom it may concern,
I believed keeping Coach Ryan after the Brazil game was a bad decision - not so much because he made perhaps the greatest tactical blunder in the history of US Soccer - but because of the petty way he handled the aftermath of Solo's post-game remarks.
Now, the situation has spiraled out of control. Coach Ryan has efficiently manipulated his players so that they are all afraid to speak up - and a young, gifted soccer player is nowhere to be seen.
The players themselves will now have to deal with the shame of distancing themselves so thoroughly from a former teammate.
Let's hope the new coach shows more sense and more class.
Wonder where I stand?
I think this is one of the most shameful sporting situations I've ever witnessed, short of direct violence. Coach Ryan's manipulation, leaving Solo out of the last game and threatening not only Solo but every current and future U.S. player via his "we have many good up and coming players" remark - the way Solo's teammates so readily abandoned her - it's despicable.
I tried to leave a voice mail, too, but I couldn't find a good number.
shows how classless Coach Ryan is and
the (pre-Gulati) USSF was - they treated Brandi Chastain
, a true hero of American soccer, like a thoroughbred with a broken leg:
Or maybe they (the USSF) let petty jealousies and resentments with the veteran players cloud logic and reason. Maybe they hired someone who for $175,000 a year would do their bidding, who would clear out those veterans who hadn't retired and wouldn't complain when the team's games weren't promoted properly.
Back in 2005, three different players privately predicted that Ryan would get hired, the theory being that because they endorsed pretty much everyone else the federation would go the exact opposite direction just to spite them. And when Ryan was indeed hired, one player said: "The federation wants to show us who's running the show."
One of Ryan's first acts was to fly to San Jose, meet with Chastain at an airport hotel and inform her she was no longer part of the team. That's the same Chastain who had made the winning penalty kick in the 1999 World Cup final against China. And the same Chastain who had lobbied for Heinrichs' ouster.
So, the USSF didn't care about winning or losing, and the players had no say in who was hired as coach. But not only did the players not have a say in who was hired, the USSF made sure that they hired the only person that the players dis
approved of - Greg Ryan. That is wrong, and that is why blind loyalty to any sport, team, or organization of any kind is wrong. First, we should stand up for decency. Reasonable people may disagree on the course of action to be taken with respect to Hope Solo and Coach Ryan, but I can't see how anyone could justify firing Brandi Chastain because she had the intestinal fortitude to speak out against her coach - just like Hope Solo.
The lesson is clear - if you are an athlete, and you hope to play for the U.S. national team, you'd better keep your pie-hole shut. Period. There is no discussion - no deliberation. There is one right, one wrong, one absolute ruler - and that ruler is the coach of the team. What he or she says is gospel, and if you dare disagree with it, publicly (Solo) or privately (Chastain)
, you will be fired.
All of this, of course, went down before Sunil Gulati took over. Gulati has proven to be no more competent than Ryan, but will he be as classless as Ryan, or will he make things right by firing Ryan immediately, and restoring some decency to the US Womens soccer program?
Time will tell.
...p.s. it seems the rest of the U.S. Womens national team hasn't been reading the Socster.com blog. Too bad - maybe they wouldn't have shamed themselves.
on the NY Times' soccer blog, Goal, has a few comments worth excerpting:
...As to the remarks of Lori Chalupny, I had hoped that there might be some recognition that many observers feel that the punishment of Hope Solo was disproportionate to the "crime" - especially the shunning of Solo when she was such a big reason they made it to the semi-final match. ...
-- Posted by John D.
...this team(if you can call i that) makes me sick. What a bunch of inhumane, petty, children. and greg ryan is an afront to the sport of soccer. He should be fired now (even if that means paying him through the rest of the year). I wish there was a game by me so i could go and boo. Apparently solo will not be starting saturday and may not play at all in all three games. it just sickening. They should be congratulating themselve for making our team the laughing stock of the world, while slapping every fan in the face...
-- Posted by Meredith
...Care deeply about each other? Support each other? Hope Solo sure didn't see any of that support. Her now-famous comments after the Brazil match were arrogant, selfish, ill considered — and quite likely correct. But they were NOTHING compared to the ugly spectacle of the team turning its collective back on Solo. This wayward daughter was not allowed to eat with the team, practice with them, attend their Norway game, receive her medal with them, or even fly home with them. A "shunning" is exactly what it was, a show of excess which belies all of the team's pious pronouncements about its character and caring. ...
-- Posted by Dee LaLique
...Much good will toward the US Women's team will be permanently lost if Hope Solo is not welcomed back on the team. The disproportionate response by the team to Hope's outburst borders on vindictiveness. It is particularly egregious since Hope was in a large part responsible for the team getting to the medal round and they denied her an opportunity to be honored at the medal ceremony. The team comes across as ingrates. The powerful veterans gangling up on the rookie. I found it interesting that no one on the team spoke up, or dared to speak up, for her. ...
-- Posted by R. Chambers
My comment has not been approved yet - if it will be at all. (...approved
thinks Solo deserves an apology, too:
Glad to see former UW soccer star Hope Solo is back on the US national team.
Now when is everyone going to apologize to her?
She was 93 percent right when she ranted about coach Greg Ryan benching her in favor of a waaaaaay-past her prime Briana Scurry for the World Cup semifinal against Brazil.
(The remaining 7 percent drag is due to her less-than-graceful phrasing).
The US lost that game 4-0 entirely because of that decision, truly one of the worst coaching moves I've ever witnessed.
Yet Solo was ostracized by her teammates for speaking the truth.
Sorry Solo wasn't being nice, Ladies, but it's time to recognize that you're playing big-time sports and that WINNING is everything. Being nice isn't what playing for world championships is about.
I know all about the sanctity of the locker room, but the social Darwinism of competing at the highest level should be more important and her teammates should have backed Solo instead of Scurry and Ryan.
I don't see how Scurry has anything to do with this, except for her part in shunning Solo after the Solo's comments - and that is shameful, no doubt - but 'siding' with or against Scurry? - that's a wholly manufactured paradigm, made up and enforced by one person - Coach Greg Ryan.
...Hope Solo jersey sales at #8
1. David Beckham Jersey
2. Marion Barber Jersey
3. Tony Romo Jersey
4. Walter Payton Jersey
5. Tim Tebow Jersey
6. Brett Favre Jersey
7. Michael Vick Jersey 8. Hope Solo Jersey
9. Devin Hester Jersey
10. Vince Young Jersey
11. Randy Moss Jersey
12. Patrick Willis Jersey
13. Reggie Bush Jersey
14. Tom Brady Jersey
15. Peyton Manning Jersey
16. Larry Bird Jersey
17. Joe Montana Jersey
18. Craig Biggio Jersey
19. Steve Nash Jersey
20. Mia Hamm Jersey
...from soon after the incident:
More than anything, I'm dismayed that instead of focusing on what should be a fantastic final -- Germany plays some of the most deliberate, skilled soccer you'll ever see, and Brazil plays the flashiest, prettiest ball you'll witness -- the world is focused on this crap. And that in a time when we might have a woman running for president, we're telling this one to shut up and that she spoke out of turn.
...a really well-written, balanced article
- one that finally hints at what Hope Solo might have been thinking when she made those now-infamous remarks:
But when you look at the substitutions he made in the game, and you are left wondering could Coach R really be that bad? Over time we will get to the bottom of this very sorry state of affairs, but until then the simple fact remains the hugely talented and almost Beckhamesque Hope Solo has suffered the most appalling heart break the game can offer.
Not even penalties come close to the coaches axe, especially when you have just kept 3 clean sheets. In World Cup competition a coach will do his very best to avoid changing his center backs and goal keeper. If that triangle is in any way changed it undermines the entire team.
The player's lose the comfort of being able to play backwards, the confidence drains and the team plays to avoid losing, not to win. So it cannot have crossed Solo's mind that the axe was around the corner. When told by Ryan it would be surprising if Solo didn't faint from the initial shock, the hurt will have torn her in two, and then once she adds up the factors to her benching an unrelenting rage is likely to have enveloped her.
She would systematically have gone through the so called reason and realised she was the victim of a misguided agenda from team mates, or a soccer coach that has made one of the most reckless decisions in the history of World Cup Football.
Solo was then expected to sit in the dressing room and act normal. The team didn't look right on the field they were either shell shocked by the coach's actions, or riddled with confusion over the machinations that led to Solo being dropped.
Looking on from the bench, and in the subsequent interview, Solo was bitterly hurt and disappointed she could not be on the field to help her team mates to victory. The normal dressing room reaction should have been to close ranks against the media, but amazingly she was left high and dry.
This suggests the coach and players were trying to sweep a major internal problem under the carpet. Solo should not have criticized her fellow 'keeper's performance, but Scurry has enough experience to understand the circumstances.
Given the nature of the modern dressing rooms it can be suggested the older players became distracted by Solo's charisma and star power, I think anyone who has kicked a ball in anger would have loved to have pulled off such empathy and immediate football justice. Her courage to speak out and stay composed despite appearing to choke back tears has made Hope Solo an even bigger star and name in U.S households.