A brief Hope Solo court update

On Thursday, Hope Solo’s assault case will be officially remanded to the trial court, Kirkland Municipal Court … unless Solo’s counsel decides to appeal again.

That’s the upshot of the stack of paper I managed to procure and have shipped cross-country to me in an effort to figure out the status of her case. Two words, court system: Electronic records. Please.

I reached out to Solo’s two listed lawyers to ask whether they would once again seek a review in the state’s Court of Appeals. They did not answer.

But barring a successful review of the review of the appeal of the case being reinstated, Solo will be in court sometime in … 2017? Maybe?

The irony here is that Solo’s counsel got the case thrown out at one point because a judge sympathized with the argument that she shouldn’t have to choose between due process (adequately questioning all the witnesses) and a speedy trial, and now the case has dragged out far longer than it should have. The primary delaying force, though, is simple bad luck. Solo’s lawyers have had several valid reasons to delay the case — you’d have to be rather heartless to deny a motion for an extension to a lawyer whose wife was just diagnosed with breast cancer.

Here’s how we reached this point.

June 21, 2014: Solo is arrested on charges of fourth-degree assault after an incident with her half-sister, Teresa Obert, and nephew, identified in court papers as C.O. because he was a minor at the time. ESPN reports in October 2015 that she was belligerent toward arresting officers.

December 2014-January 2015: Several delays in the defense’s attempts to get depositions from Obert and C.O. One delay is procedural — do you need a subpoena or just a “notice of deposition” to compel someone to appear? When they are deposed, C.O. cites doctor-patient privilege in response to a couple of questions about his medical history and medication. On Dec. 30, the court orders Obert and C.O. to appear on Jan. 2; the response is “I don’t know if we can make that.” And they don’t. The court tries again Jan. 6 to get them to appear Jan. 8, but Obert’s husband says they’re out of the state. (All of this is reconstructed from the Court of Appeals ruling of July 7, 2016.)

Jan. 13, 2015: Kirkland Municipal Court judge dismisses charges against Solo. The factors are “pattern of the City’s witnesses’ failure to cooperate with defense interviews” and an amended witness list of Dec. 29. Solo’s counsel had said the new witnesses on the list had refused to talk.

Feb. 9, 2015: Kirkland lawyers file in King County Superior Court to reconsider the case. Again from the 7-7-2016 ruling: “The City argued that the trial court improperly conflated the City’s obligations with the witnesses’ conduct.”

The docket showing how the case proceeded in King County Superior Court has been intermittently available online.

Oct. 2, 2015: Superior Court Judge Douglass North reverses lower court’s decision, sends case back to lower court. The ruling, included as an appendix to an Oct. 29 filing I obtained, says North heard motion from Kirkland “to remand this case back to the trial court for an abuse of discretion under 8.3 and 4.7. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this case be remanded back to the trial court for a trial. Court finds there was an abuse of discretion.” More detail from the 7-7-16 filing: “The court reasoned that dismissal ‘requires willful or arbitrary action on the part of the government, not on the basis of the witnesses.’”

Oct. 29, 2015: Solo’s counsel asks state Court of Appeals for a discretionary review of North’s Oct. 2 decision. This docket report is online.

Nov. 6, 2015: Solo gets extension on filing full motion until Dec. 28. Reasons given: Todd Maybrown, Solo’s lawyer throughout this case, is prepping for the murder-for-hire trial of James Perry Henrikson. The legal team has added James Lobsenz, but he was not present at trial and is getting up to speed while he has six other appellate briefs due.

January 2016: Solo gets another extension to Jan. 15, but “no further extensions.” Three documents were filed through the month — presumably Solo’s motion (Jan. 12), then definitely Kirkland’s response to her motion (Jan. 22), then Solo’s response to Kirkland (Jan. 29). I don’t have these documents, but I have a Feb. 1 document about the dates in which they were all due.

March-May 2016: After some back and forth about whether the motion should be heard by oral argument, the motion was indeed heard May 27.

June 7, 2016: Solo’s motion for review is denied by Court of Appeals Commissioner Masako Kanazawa, whose ruling is “essentially upholding the superior court’s ruling,” according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The last paragraph of Kanazawa’s ruling (note: Solo is using her married name, Stevens, in this case):


July 7: Kanazawa grants motion for extension of time to file a motion to modify until August 8. Counsel’s wife just learned she had breast cancer and needed surgery.

August 5: Solo’s motion to modify is filed. The basic idea: Please “modify” the ruling denying my discretionary review by entering a ruling granting discretionary review. Quite a modification — legalese is fun!

Solo’s counsel reiterates the delays in Obert and C.O.’s deposition but also hits the prosecution for adding four witnesses late in the process — two doctors, Jeffrey Obert and a Corey (or Cori, depending on the document) Parks, who lives in Florida. The motion says these witnesses have refused to be interviewed by defense.

Kirkland’s response, if it chose to file one, would be due August 15. The city decided not to respond. That’s confidence.

Oct. 4: Motion denied — there will be no modification of the ruling denying the motion for discretionary review. The order has three signatures with last names matching Court of Appeals judges Michael Spearman, Ronald Cox and Stephen Dwyer.

The cover letter sending the order to Kirkland and Solo counsel reads, “The order will become final unless counsel files a motion for discretionary review within thirty days from the date of this order.”

Nov. 3: The Court of Appeals docket says “Certificate of Finality: Due.”

Though, in this case, it would really be the beginning, sending the case back to trial court just as Solo makes plans to go to North Carolina (as stated in her Fullscreen documentary) or even overseas, as she recently hinted.

Tension in the NWSL: can the league and players live together in harmony? 

This isn’t the first league Hope Solo has roasted on Twitter. Now other players have joined in. Can the league survive the tension?

Source: Tension in the NWSL: can the league and players live together in harmony? | Football | The Guardian

On the Women’s World Cup and Hope Solo, in that order

What a World Cup we’ve seen so far!

Stunning upsets: Nigeria tying Sweden, Norway tying Germany (this isn’t 1995), and Colombia over France.

– Moments of brilliance: Colombian keeper Sandra Sepulveda, the sequence leading to Karla Villalobos’ equalizer for Costa Rica against South Korea, and this free kick from Norway’s Maren Mjelde that couldn’t have been placed any better if she stood at the post with a stepladder:

– Overwhelming media coverage: Fox has gone all out to demonstrate that the next several men’s and women’s World Cups will be in good hands. Former rights-holder ESPN is also ramped up, matching or even surpassing their coverage from 2011, when they sent people like me to Germany to ride the rails and cover as many games as possible.

But we’re only talking about Hope Solo, right? So says Nancy Armour at USA TODAY, and I’m sure she’s not alone.

Most of my small band of Twitter followers would disagree. I’d say you could exclude the MMA folks in that band of Twitter followers, but actually, you can’t:

But let’s go beyond the anecdotal and look at Google trends: On Friday, the top trend was Women’s World Cup at 500,000. Hope Solo was at 100,000, tied for fourth with Alex Morgan. Gotta get injury updates.

Ratings? They’re good. (TV ratings, that is. U.S. player ratings, not so much.)

So I hope this is just taken as the polite, constructive criticism I’m intending. And frankly, my old paper is doing a terrific job covering both Hope Solo AND the Cup. Which makes Armour’s piece that much stranger.

More interesting stuff from the Cup:

– Abby Wambach is blaming artificial turf for the lack of U.S. offense, particularly her own missed chances. Maybe that’s better than Stephen A. Smith joking about Germany failing to stop Norway’s free kick because the players worried about their hair.

Stories like that are why I love Twitter:


(Laura also has a blog with some pointed insights on the Cup, Solo, etc. That includes a Google Map of women’s teams in the USA.)

On a more serious note — if Wambach isn’t comfortable playing on turf, should she be playing at all in this tournament? If I’m Jill Ellis, I read that and think, “OK, thanks — I’ll go with someone else.”

– But if I’m Jill Ellis, I take Jeff Carlisle’s advice on fixing the offense. Play a dadgum winger on the wing rather than letting Tobin Heath, who can inject some skill and creativity into the attack, rot on the bench. Get Lauren Holiday out of defensive midfield before a good team runs her ragged in the semifinals.

– And finally, on Hope Solo: Look, we all know her version of events is always going to be a little skewed to make her look better. She’s pretty good at spinning — even today, some people look back at the 2007 Women’s World Cup and think she’s the victim, just as she’s claiming she’s the “victim” here in a domestic dispute that most likely has plenty of blame to spread around too all parties involved.

But simply based on the facts, Sunil Gulati simply demolished Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Even after the Outside the Lines report on Solo’s family fracas and her apparently obnoxious behavior afterwards, we still don’t know how much we can trust her accusers. Is U.S. Soccer supposed to bench her now? Why? Because a senator finds it easier to make Solo a scapegoat than to tackle the circumstances that lead families to fight?

Yeesh. When’s the next game?

Hope Solo and the timing of bad news: Q-and-EG

Questions and educated guesses on the Hope Solo situation:

Q. Why did ESPN air a piece on Hope Solo, with extensive comments from a family member with whom she fought, the day before the USA was due to play its first World Cup game?

EG: Because Solo has been receiving a lot of favorable press and sympathetic interviews that have allowed her to give her side of the story, painting herself as “a victim of domestic violence” who suffered a concussion in the scuffle with family members a year ago. She was on Good Morning America, and she was in a glowing ESPN magazine feature.

So the main trigger was Solo’s recent series of interviews, which Deadspin called “Hope Solo’s Redemption Tour.” Deadspin concluded that said tour is … well …

And Solo’s half-sister, Teresa Obert, felt the same way about Solo’s redemption tour and decided not to keep silent.

That’s one aspect of it. The other aspect, which we don’t fully know, is how long veteran reporter Mark Fainaru-Wada was chasing after the depositions and other records that were part of the broadcast.

Could ESPN have aired this piece a month ago? Probably not. Not enough new info.

Q. What’s the big deal? Each side says the other is lying, and we can’t tell which is which.

EG. Or maybe they’re both lying. Or maybe everyone’s guilty of some sort of abhorrent behavior. Look at the depositions in the ESPN story and see what you think.

Q. Weren’t the charges dismissed?

EG. Not exactly. Prosecutors are re-filing charges and will be back in court July 13.

Q. Back up a second — did Solo say “concussed”?

EG. Yep. Do you remember anyone reporting a Hope Solo concussion last summer? She missed a Seattle Reign game after the incident, but injury wasn’t the given reason.

Q. Wasn’t the media wrong for the whole way they handled Solo’s marriage to Jerramy Stevens?

EG. Ah yes — the accusation from the ESPN magazine story: “UNLIKE WHAT HAS been widely reported in the media, the Stevens and Solo love story did not begin two months before they wed but in fact sprang to life in college …”

Compare that with Solo’s memoir epilogue, released after the 2012 Olympics: “Adrian was beyond committed, a steady support system for me through these difficult times. Somewhere in the past year, there had been a significant shift in our relationship, and our full commitment to each other became clear and ironclad. We decided to start looking for a home, one where we could build our life together.”

Look, relationships are complicated, and we shouldn’t be so judgmental. But I think we can forgive anyone who read Hope’s memoir in September for being a little surprised when she turned up with Stevens a couple of months later. The fact that Stevens and Solo knew each other in college doesn’t erase pages from her memoir in which she talks about her future with another man a couple of months before marrying another.

Q. I still think ESPN just did this because they don’t have Women’s World Cup rights.

EG. ESPN also ran the sympathetic feature with the revisionist history on Solo’s relationships. (Disclaimer: I’ve written for ESPN. And Fox, which is showing the Cup this time. And, most recently, Fox News Latino.)

Q. Why does any of this matter?

EG. To a large degree, it doesn’t. The U.S. team has made peace with the fact that Solo is going to do her own thing. Solo is on the team not because she’s everyone’s best friend. She’s on the team because she has been the best big-game goalkeeper in the world over the past 10 years.

But when the media stop questioning stuff that clearly merits questioning, we’ve lost our way. Then, to give one not-so-hypothetical example, Solo can say a bunch of fans are racist without any serious repercussions or even anyone giving the other side.

Q. Why did the family skip some opportunities to tell itself when the case was first active? Not just to the media. To the court.

EG. That’s a good question, and I wish Outside the Lines had tackled it. (I didn’t see the full TV piece, so perhaps it was asked there.)

Q. How will this affect the U.S. team?

EG. It won’t.

Q. How will this affect Solo’s future endorsements?

EG. It’ll complicate them.

Q. What scares you about the whole situation on a personal level?

EG. The way so many people make excuses for her rather than accepting the fact that she’s a deeply flawed human being. The fight with her family, frankly, seems a little less disturbing than her attitude toward the police. (Unless the police were lying, but what’s their incentive to do that?)

She also does a lot of good, absolutely — if you’ve ever seen her with kids, you know that. No one’s saying you can’t be her fan.

But here’s a basic fact of life: Make a claim of being a victim, and you’d better be able to back it up. Especially when we see other indications to the contrary.

Root for her on Monday if you like. That’s up to you. But if you’re looking for victims to whom you send your sympathy, you might want to choose some with where the facts are clearer and their own roles in the situation are cleaner.

But all those are just educated guesses. Not “answers.” Please don’t accuse me of telling you how to think. Just tossing out a few things to think about.


Hope Solo is unique because …

… there simply isn’t anyone like her.

Obvious statement, isn’t it? It’s the very definition of the word “unique.” She’s an individual.

But in her case, when she’s in the news, we always have a confluence of issues that make it difficult to compare her to any other athlete. And they’re coming up again now that she has been suspended in the wake of her husband’s DUI arrest and the complex situation around it. Read the ESPN story with Julie Foudy’s insider take on what led to the suspension. Elsewhere, I’ve heard the suspension compared to a “persistent infringement” yellow card — an accumulation of questionable decisions.

But even if you agree with the suspension, which seems to be the majority view, you can find yourself in a fiery dispute.

The issues that make a perfect storm around Solo news include:

She’s an occasionally famous athlete: If you’re not a women’s soccer diehard, you may know who Hope Solo is, but you don’t follow her from week to week. She’s in the spotlight at the Olympics and the World Cup. Or sometimes in a magazine shoot. Or in a controversy.

Olympic athletes are the same way. We pay more attention to Tiger Woods getting a tooth knocked out than we do to the reason he was there, Lindsey Vonn setting the record for World Cup wins. If Tiger hadn’t shown up, a lot of people wouldn’t know what Vonn did, even though it’s one of the most impressive feats an Olympic athlete can achieve.

So in this sense, Solo is like some athletes but not like those in sports that are covered in “mainstream” media throughout their competitive seasons and in the offseason.

Her background is different from that of most teammates: That’s a major theme of her memoir. Women’s soccer players typically have comfortable childhoods. She didn’t. In this sense, she’s more like a typical NFL or NBA athlete, whose triumphs over adversity are commonly told.

So that’s two items we’ve considered. One makes her similar to a sporadically covered Olympic athlete. One makes her similar to NFL and NBA athletes. Already, we’re talking about an unusual person.

The women’s soccer community has a chip on its shoulder: Or several. And rightly so. A lot of things have gone wrong in women’s soccer over the years. Two leagues have collapsed, and not even for the same reasons. The last season of WPS was a quagmire of legal action and bizarre incidents that killed any momentum from the 2011 World Cup. Women’s soccer fans can be defensive, sometimes mistrusting perceived outsiders. I’m not judging here — it’s understandable. I feel that way myself at times. I point it out just because it adds to the emotion when a Solo story makes the news.

She has been controversial for a long time: Here, one of the closest analogues would be Allen Iverson, a talented basketball player remembered mostly for his “practice?” press conference and his legal and financial woes (ironically chronicled here by Kate Fagan, one of the participants in last night’s Twitter disagreements). Start with the 2007 incident in which she ripped her coach’s decision in a way that also insulted (intentionally or not) Briana Scurry, then add various Twitter rants (pity her old tweets all disappeared), then add the incident just before a wedding few people expected (to a man with a serious criminal record), then add her recent family fight. Charges in the latter were dropped, and we’ll never really know what happened.

She wrote a controversial book to which most people involved didn’t respond: Consider Tim Howard’s recent memoir and his claim that Brad Friedel tried to block him from going to Manchester United. Friedel responded. Howard listened to Friedel and has edited his book. In Solo’s case, most of the people who come across badly in her book (with the exception of Greg Ryan disputing one specific incident) have remained silent. They’ve decided it’s not worth the effort to get into a back-and-forth dispute with Solo and her legions of fans.

(By the way, the “From the Back Cover” text at Amazon is still inaccurate. It says Solo had four shutouts in the World Cup before she was benched. She gave up two goals to North Korea, then had three shutouts. I was told by the publisher this would be fixed for later editions. But it lives on at Amazon.)

I’ve been down this road before in a post I enjoyed writing mostly for the Saturday Night Live spoof — Hope Solo: Too unique for a double standard. (Yes, it covers the 2007 incident.)

The basic point: It’s not Solo’s gender that makes her unique — at least, that’s not the only or even the primary factor. It’s the totality of the situation. She’s unlike other female athletes, yes. But she’s also unlike other athletes, period.

Given that, I think analyzing and assessing Solo’s suspension and her media coverage require a variety of perspectives. It’s not fair to chase off veteran sports writers who have covered women’s soccer just because they aren’t tweeting about day-to-day NWSL events. (That’s a thinly caricatured reference to some of last night’s Twitter conversation.) They’re basing their analysis on a solid base of knowledge, and it’s a valuable perspective — just as several other perspectives are valuable.

“But weren’t you questioning the late-arriving media in September when they realized Solo was still playing despite a pending legal case?” Here’s the difference: The media in that case came in very late to an existing situation, implicitly insisting that the case was important now that they were paying attention. In case you’re wondering, a lot of people had similar takes, while others quietly unfollowed me. You simply can’t please everyone when it comes to a Hope Solo case, particularly because everyone’s emotions are so inflamed because of the confluence of issues above.

Once again, in the wake of her suspension, I’m not sure we can come up with a comparison to make to another athlete. What if Tim Howard had recently had a criminal case dropped, only to be out late at night at training camp with his spouse, who got arrested on suspicion of DUI? (And was allegedly hostile to the police and nearly arrested himself — the “allegedly” is important here because, frankly, we shouldn’t put our full faith in TMZ’s account of anything, including the Solo incident.) Would Howard get a 30-day suspension and a lot of media coverage?

I’m inclined to say yes. I base that on 20-plus years of covering sports, men’s and women’s. If you come from a different perspective and would guess otherwise, I can respect that. Just understand that my perspective is also valid.

“What about Charlie Davies?” some said last night. Davies was in a U.S. men’s training camp when he got in the car with a drunk driver who crashed, seriously injuring Davies and killing another passenger. Fans rallied to Davies’ support. They also questioned his decision to get in the car.

Davies made a tragic mistake. The soccer community loved the sinner and hoped he would recover. They hated the sin. And there wasn’t much point in any additional punishment — Davies’ injuries cost him a couple of years of his pro career and (barring a remarkable next step in his comeback) any future shot at the national team, for which he had been playing well before the accident.

In Solo’s case, it’s OK to feel the same way we felt about Davies. It takes a rather snarky person to want Solo to continue making headlines for getting in trouble.

And she seems to recognize that she can’t continue down this path. In her statement, she says she thinks it’s best to take a break.

This statement didn’t satisfy everyone — as if any statement could. Some people are quibbling with the need to “decompress.” But we don’t know everything that’s going on with her and her family. Some might say this statement is PR’d-up, but I’m willing to take her at her word when she says something so specific about taking time away. I don’t think it’s the least bit controversial to say she needs to address some issues before she returns to the national team.

My guess is that she’s successful. I’m basing that on years of following her career, including several conversations with her of all types — group, private, friendly, less friendly, sports-related, music-related, philosophical. And yet, after all those years, I can’t say anything about Solo would surprise me. I might not understand her any better than you do if you’ve only read about her.

After all, she’s unique.

Hope Solo: The backlash against the bandwagon

As the belated outrage over Hope Solo’s status on the U.S. women’s national team continues to grow, we’re seeing a lot of voices reminding us that the issue is much more complicated than it’s being presented in a lot of quarters. It’s certainly more complicated than the “if Ray Rice is suspended, why isn’t Hope Solo?” nonsense from the “men’s rights” knuckle-draggers.

This post, which will be updated (feel free to send me links), is to highlight those voices in the hopes that they’ll be part of the national conversation.

Not all of these voices are in complete agreement about how to handle the Solo situation. Some call for her suspension but have misgivings about where the discourse is headed. Some agree with my take that U.S. Soccer erred in celebrating her shutout record but think there’s no point is suspending her now. (After her trial, anything goes.) But they’re all good at bringing out the nuances in a case that really isn’t that simple:

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic

It is now becoming fashionable to ignore human history and dump all manner of insupportable violence committed by athletes into the same bucket. The label on that bucket reads “Something Bad, Which We Should Punish.” It is true that what Ray Rice did was violent and wrong. It is also true that what Adrian Peterson did was violent and wrong. And it also true that what Hope Solo is alleged to have done is violent and wrong. But they are not the same specimen of violent and wrong.

Jen Doyle, The Sport Spectacle:

Fans of the USWNT will know well that Solo is facing assault charges. That story is not new. Washington Post editors might want to claim that this is “the domestic violence case that no one is talking about,” but that claim only works we ignore The Seattle Times, which, for example, has covered the story consistently, and responsibly, through their Seattle Sounders FC blog (Solo plays for Seattle Reign). The fact is that the national news media basically doesn’t give a shit about women’s sports stories unless they can be made into stories about men. Unless Solo’s case, in other words, can appear as a footnote to the Ray Rice story and (worse) absorbed into some broad popular sense that women, in general, are somehow getting away with something.

Jeff Kassouf, Equalizer Soccer

On Friday, Solo was suddenly “the domestic violence case no one is talking about.” People are “turning a blind eye” on the Solo case!

Except for the entirety of mainstream and niche media alike when it happened in June (including thoseveryoutlets writing those Friday pieces). The news on Solo’s alleged domestic violence was hardly ignored then. Every major media outlet in the country reported on it, giving it the red breaking news bar and top-of-the-headline-stack treatment similar to these NFL stories.

The cases “no one is talking about” are the 12 million people affected each year by intimate partner violence, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Amanda Hess, Slate:

All of the players who have been benched in the past couple of weeks are taking the heat for their league’s long-standing ignorance of domestic violence. It’s not clear that this approach—which penalizes highly visible players while letting the league off the hook—is ideal. What we do know for certain is that it’s not applicable to U.S. women’s soccer, which has no such systematic, decades-long history of ignoring the fact that certain players abuse their partners.

Kate Fagan, espnW:

What’s concerning about the dialogue around Hope Solo is this: It’s diverting us from the core issue. It feels like a distraction tactic to take the pressure off male athletes, off men in general, off the social epidemic of domestic violence.

Christine Brennan, USA TODAY:

(USOC CEO) Blackmun is not calling on U.S. Soccer to remove Solo from the women’s national team roster now. While Blackmun did not say why, it’s believed that the USOC is concerned about Solo’s right to a hearing and due process under the U.S. Amateur Sports Act while she awaits a November trial.

Stephanie Yang, The Soccer Desk:

As an additional complication, female athletes are certainly held to a much higher standard of moral behavior than male athletes. The least deviation from “appropriate” behavior for women is as or more remarkable than extreme instances of deviation by men. Look at the level of violence required to generate large-scale commentary and/or condemnation in the Ray Rice case. Look at how Floyd Mayweather is still allowed to compete and is, in fact, lauded by many. Ben Roethlisberger has been accused of sexual assault multiple times. Look at the sheer number of professional male athletes who are arrested, not just for domestic violence, and allowed to return to their teams after an insignificant period of “contrition.” Here is an article discussing arrest rates among NFL players. So I think there is false equivalence in media coverage of Hope’s situation as comparable to these other instances of DV.

Laura Taylor, Happy Go Snarky:

Editor: But we’ve got a problem. There are people out there writing rebuttal articles and blogs that are being very well-received. They’re making us look like amateurs who don’t know anything about women’s soccer and are only covering this because the Ray Rice story is huge and we want to make some tenuous connection to a famous, pretty girl who also allegedly committed the same crime. Terrence, I’d like you to write a new article about her.

Terrence: About women’s soccer, sir? But I’m the foreign affairs writer and we just bombed Syria and Iraq. Shouldn’t I focus on that?

(Feel free to add more links in the comments — again, I’ll update this post.)


The awesome NWSL allocation list: Same as it ever was

Hope Solo is indeed on the list to play in the National Women’s Soccer League, likely ending (at least for now) any speculation that she may choose another path. So is Heather Mitts, all indications of retirement to the contrary.

That’s really the only news out of the U.S. section of the NWSL allocation list, which looks almost exactly like the list of players who played for the U.S. national team in 2012.

From that 2012 stats page, subtract one: Stephanie Cox, who’s pregnant. Add Ashlyn Harris and Keelin Winters, who are also in the official U.S. Soccer site’s player pool.

That player pool only has 29 players. Twenty-three will be allocated. Cox is pregnant. Jeff Kassouf reports that Meghan Klingenberg is staying in Sweden for now. Yael Averbuch also is staying there. Whitney Engen is in England. That leaves the two Class of 2012 players who’ll surely be high on the draft board next week — Kristie Mewis and Christine Nairn, who has already graduated from Penn State.

Not officially listed in the player pool but certainly under national team consideration is Christen Press. She’s … staying in Sweden.

So if there are no surprises, it’s only because the player pool is so small. And it includes everyone who played for the USWNT in 2011 and 2012 except Lindsay Tarpley and Brittany Taylor. Even if you go back to 2010, you only add six names: Sarah Huffman, Casey Nogueira, Meghan Schnur, Cat Whitehill, the retired Kate Markgraf and the really retired Kristine Lilly.

And that small player pool is the reason the USWNT needs a domestic league. You don’t want to be two injuries away from calling in people who aren’t playing at an elite level.


Essential women’s soccer updates

Too many important reads today to leave it all on Twitter:

1. Charles Boehm puts the timeline of a new league announcement at or before Dec. 1.

2. What’s taking so long? Andy Crossley investigates and comes up with most of the answers.

3. Jerramy Stevens is out of court, but police are still investigating his incident with fiancee Hope Solo, Kelly Whiteside reports.

To put the Solo timeline in perspective, check the bonus chapter from her book, released online. Adrian, the man who had been with her through a lot of difficult times, was still with her family when the U.S. won gold in August. What has happened in the last three months? I have no idea, and I’m not speculating.

The soccer-related question is this: Is Solo going to play in the new league?

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 …

Hope Solo: Too unique for a double standard

It’s tempting to respond to the cries of a “double standard” against Hope Solo with a segment of “Really!?! with Seth and Amy.”

Really? There’s a double standard against Hope Solo? She said something totally nasty about one of her teammates at the 2007 Women’s World Cup, but people actually like her because of it because it makes her seem like a badass. Really.

Really? A double standard? Landon Donovan quickly moved to apologize for talking in public about David Beckham — saying the same stuff that tons of Galaxy fans were saying as well — but there’s a double standard against Hope Solo? Really? Donovan and Beckham actually sorted it out while Solo still holds a grudge … and wait a minute, that grudge blew open with something she said? Really?

Really? Have any of Hope’s fans ever listened to a sports talk show? If a backup quarterback ever said, “I would have made those passes,” Colin Cowherd wouldn’t even need a microphone to broadcast his show nationwide. He’d just stand up on the roof at ESPN and yell.

Yeah, really! And then Solo does an interview with Jeremy Schaap, and her fans gripe that he asked her about her relationship with the older women’s national team players? After she wrote a book that talked about that relationship?

Really! If Jeremy Schaap interviewed Jose Canseco about his books, do Hope’s fans think he would not ask him about steroids? Really?

And the E:60 video is all Hope’s side! Where’s Cat Whitehill? Where’s Julie Foudy? Where’s Briana Scurry? Really!

Really! And yet Hope has fans on Twitter who say the old guard refuses to “pass the torch.” The Who can keep touring until they don’t have anyone left, but Brandi Chastain’s supposed to disappear at age 40 like some soccer-specific remake of Logan’s Run? Hope’s the one with a memoir out and the excerpts at espnW about her conflicts with the “old guard,” but they’re the ones keeping the past alive?

Really! Really? ….

(This has been “Really?! with Seth and Amy)

So yes, I’m a little skeptical of the “double standard” notion — at least in terms of how Solo and her book have been treated in the media.  The Schaap interview is labeled as “contentious” — which is often Schaap’s style, anyway — and yet Schaap didn’t really challenge anything she said in the book. Schaap didn’t fire back with, “You lost respect for Kristine Lilly? Really?” He asked her to name a name that’s named in the book so they could discuss it.

What I said the last time I wrote on this book two weeks ago is still valid — there are multiple sides to a lot of the issues in Solo’s book, and the other sides aren’t talking. That’s not acquiescence on the part of the “old guard” just because Solo’s book hit the NYT best-sellers list. A lot of NYT best-sellers are political smears, and the politicians in question often don’t respond to them, either. Silence is often a valid PR strategy in such cases.

With so few people speaking up, Solo is really getting a free pass on her unflattering portrayal of players who still have a lot of fans, no matter what Solo’s Twitter echo chamber may say. It’s all her side of the story — which, again, is the point of a memoir. If you lose respect for Lilly, Hamm, Scurry and company because of Solo’s book, that’s really your fault, not Solo’s.

So it’s difficult to make a case for a double standard in terms of the media coverage. What about elsewhere?

And here’s where it gets tricky. Would a men’s team ostracize a player the way the USWNT did to Solo?

I had a long private conversation with another journalist about this yesterday, and we couldn’t think of a case of another athlete being ostracized the way Solo was. But we didn’t know of someone saying the things Solo said in 2007. We also didn’t know of someone being benched the way Solo was — starting goalkeeper until the semifinals, then suddenly yanked from the lineup.

Maybe such a thing has happened to a hockey goaltender or football quarterback somewhere along the way. Men’s teams have their internal disputes as well, often protected by a code of silence and vague words in the media. Perhaps someone at this weekend’s Victory Tour game in Rochester will ask Abby Wambach why, as depicted in Solo’s words, she suddenly thought Briana Scurry was better-suited to the World Cup task than Solo was in 2007. I’d be surprised if the interviewer got a complete answer.

But it’s hard to come up with anything that matches every aspect of Solo’s case — the undisputed starter, with no injuries to consider, suddenly being benched.

Was Solo treated differently within the team because it was a team of women? We really don’t have enough evidence to say. We know men can be called out within the team for their practice habits — ask Allen Iverson. But even if someone were to claim flat-out that Solo was benched for her performance in practice, one of several possibilities floated and never nailed down, could we really compare Iverson’s case with Solo’s?

No. They’re just too different. And not just because they’re men and women.

Solo’s unique. That’s why she’s selling books. And that’s why people are going to discuss and debate what she says. No double standard there.