TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Jan. 21, 2015 — An unprincipled point

Late today, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced a 30-day suspension of U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo.

Much like the six-month suspension of Argentina field hockey player Cecilia Rognoni for assaulting an umpire with a hockey ball at the 1999 Pan American Games, the suspension is hollow because the player doesn’t miss any games of consequence.

Solo’s suspension means she only misses a pair of European games next month, and will miss no league matches with the NWSL’s Seattle Reign.

It is, however, an open question as to what Jill Ellis and the U.S. coaching staff will do when Solo comes back into the U.S. camp. It is not outside of the realm of possibility that one of the U.S. team’s other goalkeepers, such as Ashlyn Harris, Nicole Barnhart, and Alyssa Naeher, may show an inspired run of form either in practice or in one of the European friendlies.

Yes, a punishment has been levied. It’s one that this space feels has been long overdue.

But the precipitating event — a DUI arrest of her husband last weekend with her reported belligerence towards police — shouldn’t have been the Jenga block that resulted in the collapse of the stack.

The problem is that U.S. Soccer, through its enabling of her behavior, is now in a situation where it’s going to have to allow Solo to play on the team as long as she wants — no matter whether her skills are diminished, or if her representation of this country diminishes its reputation around the world.

As much as it hurts to say this, it’s time for Solo to go.

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