A Hope Solo thought experiment

Before delving back into the Paralympics and everything else in the Myriad world today, I wanted to ask a question based on a thought-provoking email I received:

What if Hope Solo had NOT been benched in the 2007 World Cup? What would’ve happened in that game and in her career?

I may chime in later, but I want to hear from others first …

Published by

Beau Dure

The guy who wrote a bunch of soccer books and now runs a Gen X-themed podcast while substitute teaching and continuing to write freelance stuff.

4 thoughts on “A Hope Solo thought experiment”

  1. While I’ll [begrudgingly] admit that Solo is an accurate keeper, I still find it hard to believe that she would have saved all four of the goals that Scurry saw go past her. And we all know that it’s much more than goalie to wins games. Solo could have saved all four goals, but it would still be a save, not a win.

    I think the US still would have lost. Greg Ryan’s contract would still not have been renewed. And I think Solo still would have created drama.

    Take, for example, the most recent administration at the USWNT: from all accounts one cannot get more happy-go-lucky than Sundhage, and yet the goal keeper still created conflict. The would-be publication of her book before the Olympics was clearly a selfish, divisive move on Solo’s part. Sundhage’s [firm] calmness put a stop to that – and to the fire stoking of Solo’s comments toward Chastain.

    Solo is bent on making herself a household name. She would have, no matter what. Whether Ryan supplied the pivotal moment or not, Solo would have found negative attention to convert into attention and endorsement deals. She’s combative, but cunning business-wise.

  2. I think those first two goals don’t happen with Solo in there, and after that it’s a very different ball game. Still doesn’t mean the US would have won or gotten past Germany in the final.

    Regardless, I’m inclined to agree with GreyBA, Solo would have found some way of making controversy somewhere along the way.

  3. No opinion on outcome of game as I didn’t see it.

    Honest question here, as I didn’t follow back then, was Solo known as someone controversial before what happened in 2007? Or did the mess in 2007 lead to a defiant attitude that has morphed even defianter (I know, not a word) through the years?

    It is fascinating that the person most associated with that loss will be the person who wasn’t even on the field (her responsiblity, otherwise she’d be a footnote in the reasons why Ryan was fired). What would the team have done if all fingers were forced to point inward after that loss? Or, in other words, I guess I just rephrased Beau’s question….oops.

    I assume that no outburst and aftermath, no Sundhage, even if Ryan had otherwise been replaced. She is such the opposite of most coaches I’ve seen at high levels in the U.S. in most other sports (and what little I know of the USWNT team), that I feel nothing short of implosion would have brought about her hiring or have I missed something that made Sundhage otherwise logical? I don’t mean to backhand credit Solo with this (much as I wouldn’t credit the match with a subsequent explosion after being lit near a fuse), just a question.

  4. The U.S. still gets outplayed and outclassed by Brazil, but only manages to lose 2 or 3 to nothing. Lacking the motivation that the controversy created, the U.S. puts in a listless performance in the third-place game but still manages to win it. The USSF gives him an extension past the 2008 Olympics because of his record and the short preparation time between the World Cup and Olympics. Lacking Wambach, Whitehill, and Lilly, the U.S. finishes third in their group and loses to China in the Quarterfinals. Ryan’s contract doesn’t get renewed after this (I put too much thought into this).

    Were there controversies in 2008 and 2011 that I am unaware of? How much did her attacks on Chastain affect the team and its performance? Was she (at least in part) reflecting other teammates’ feelings? (Side note: I do think her criticisms of Chastain were nonsense). And how does the controversies with the Riptide and the WPS fit into the whole trying to get endorsements angle?

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