I’m really excited to welcome everyone to my new blog.
During my month away from the national team, I had a lot of time to think, and to reassess my life and career. I also learned a lot about myself. I wanted a place to continue that process and share my experiences with you – about our team, my teammates and our quest to win the World Cup this summer.
So that’s what I hope my blog will be.
For this first entry, I want to talk about my return to the team for the Algarve Cup, the tournament we just won in Portugal, and some of the most encouraging things about our performance. It was a good start to our campaign, but we know we have a lot of work to do if we want to hold the championship trophy come July.
When we headed to Portugal for the Algarve Cup, we all took different flights to Lisbon. From there, we had a three-hour ride to where we were staying. I took a van with five players I met at the airport, and by the time we reached the hotel, most of the team were already there. I kind of saw my teammates and coaches sporadically that first day at different times, but I had already been reunited with all of them well before that.
At the end of January, before I left Southern California for the start of my 30-day suspension, I’d met with everyone on the team. For the first time, I’d opened up to my teammates about everything I’d been going through. I talked about how hard it had been going through the court case with my family, and explained why I hadn’t been that approachable at camp. I’d been trying to focus while I was on the field, but I’d been a mess emotionally and mentally, and spent most nights crying with my roommate away from the team. After I was done speaking with everyone, one of my teammates gave me the biggest hug and said, “Hope, apology accepted.” That meant so much. And that was kind of the whole sentiment of the team in Los Angeles. Over the days that followed, I received so many encouraging emails from my teammates — it made me realize how important it was for me to be more open with them.
So a few days before heading to Portugal, I’d sent an e-mail to all of my teammates. I let them know what I had been doing in the time I’d been away. I told them that for the first time in my life, I’d been seeing a therapist and dealing with a lot of my issues, and finally addressing all the pain and anger that was inside of me. Twice a week, I also worked with an Eastern medicine healer in Seattle who had incredible experience helping some of the greatest athletes perform at the highest levels. He really helped me see things in a different light. I wanted them to know that I hadn’t just taken 30 days off. Ultimately, I wanted to be a better person and teammate, and that’s what I’d been focused on.
After I addressed my personal stuff, my e-mail turned to the World Cup. There had been a lot of change over the last year with the team, and with all of that change came a lot of questions — who was going to play where, what our lineup was going to be, that kind of thing. I just said: Look, it doesn’t matter where we play, how we play, or who’s on the field. We’re not going to look back and realize that we made excuses, and that they kept us from winning. At the end of the day, we’re not a team that makes excuses. We’re going to find a way to win, and we’re not just going to find a way, we’re going to look the part. We’re not just going to survive, we’re going to thrive. We’re going to win this World Cup. I think it was something that needed to be said, and it was awesome to see everybody’s responses back. Some were a little bit more sentimental about it, and other people were like, “Hell yeah, let’s do this.”
Over those first days I was back with the team in Portugal, I had so many people come up to me, and give me a huge hug, and tell me just how really grateful they were for the e-mail. One of the most meaningful moments came from same teammate who had hugged me in LA. When I saw her, she actually apologized for not reaching out to me during my 30 days off. She said, “I didn’t want you to think you were forgotten.” That was the last thing in the world I would have expected to hear. Nobody needed to reach out to me in my 30 days off. They were focused on the two games against France and England, and I was giving them space. It was really sweet of her.
Being back with the team felt really, really good. It’s funny the things that you miss. For the past 10 years, we’d made a tradition of going pottery shopping at different places on the road. It’s always been part of the Portugal trips, even back when I was 18. But the past two years, we hadn’t gone, and none of the youngest players on the team knew that tradition. So we brought it back. We took a road trip, and Shannon Boxx (who we all know as Boxxy) patiently and bravely drove us throughout the Algarve region in our old, squared-off van with manual shifting. It’s great to have Boxxy back for many reasons!
RETURN TO THE FIELD
When we first started training in Portugal, I wasn’t training that well. It wasn’t because I didn’t have it in me, or I wasn’t fit and prepared. To be honest, I don’t know what it was. The very first day, the winds were awful. I don’t know how strong they were, but it made for a really tough training session. The ball was going every which way, and because it was moving so much, I took a ball off three of my fingers and hurt them pretty badly — so much so that thought I’d broken them. That first week, I started protecting my hand a little bit, which changed my body shape and how I was catching balls, and my hands weren’t that clean.
So I was kind of frustrated with the wind, with hurting my hand, just kind of frustrated in general, but I still was training, and training hard. And then, for whatever reason, one day everything just kind of came together. I had to tape my hand up, I had to wear a different glove, and I protected it for the first week. But the pain kind of subsided, and after about a week of video and things like that, everything kind of clicked for me. It felt great to see it all kind of come together, the technical side especially.
Going into the first game against Norway, I just felt calm, and that carried all the way through the tournament. People told me I smiled a lot more when they watched the games, and I think it was because I was able to enjoy the time with my defenders especially.
We have a young defense that doesn’t have a lot of international experience, and it’s important for all of our players to know what it takes to win a World Cup. All it takes is one mistake, and the ball is in the back of the net. We had that happen to us against Japan in the World Cup Finals. Some of us live with what that feels like. At the same time, I’ve also learned that laying into everyone when we’re not good enough can create a defense that’s almost fearful of making mistakes. So this time, I took the approach of watching video together with the defenders, and working on my relationship with them. It felt good. I felt relaxed. I didn’t feel like I was trying as hard to organize everyone. I had more fun playing. I was able to find the joy in the game.
I worked a lot on my technique kicking in my 30 days off, so it was really nice to see it transfer over to the games. My left foot was consistent. My right foot was consistent. I was comfortable with the ball, and with the defenders playing it back to me. In the last couple months, my kicking hadn’t been great, so that felt really good to know that all the work I put in was paying off. We got some counterattacks and some second balls off my kicking, and it was part of our style of play. So that was good, too.
DEFENSIVE STARS EMERGE
I was really happy with how far along we came with our defense, and the way we played together. To win a World Cup, our defense has to be sound. The comfort level of our defenders was pretty incredible, and two players in the Algarve Cup really impressed me: Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Johnston.
Becky is one of the best individual defenders we have, and is one of the best in the game when it comes to getting out of pressure. She had a comfort level in Portugal that was the highest I’d seen in years. She really shined. That’s what you need in the World Cup. Becky has all the tools, a tremendous skill set, and I was really proud of her.
Julie is a really young player. She’s only had a few games with the U.S. team, and in one of those, she played midfield. Before the Algarve Cup, she was behind Christie Rampone and Whitney Engen, but both of them were injured. So we have a young player getting the call that she would be in the starting lineup. Of course, she could have a tendency to be nervous. These were pretty big games. It’s our biggest tournament before the World Cup.
But Julie came in, and she was just absolutely solid, doing everything that she needed to do. She kept things simple when she needed to keep them simple, but played a very smart game. There was a play where she flicked the ball with her head backwards, away from France’s high pressuring forwards, giving me a better chance to get to the ball first and allowing us to keep possession — for such a young player, it was a very savvy move. She was confident and relaxed in her decision making and positioning. She has all the tools, and of course, she is a very tough defender. Julie talked the entire game, and it wasn’t just empty chatter; she was really helping to try to keep the line together, to make sure she and Becky were working together. They covered for one another. And then most of all, she listened instantly and automatically because she has so much trust in all her teammates. It was truly impressive. There were some really good qualities in Julie, and I think she’s going to be around for a long time.
This is awesome! Good job Hope really enjoyed reading that!!
I too am so glad you’re back Hope,,I never gave up on you either,,I follow the reign on tumbler and got a responce back from Alex and it brought back all the joy I used to share with my moms girl team growing up,,I wrote a fan letter back thanking Alex for letting me know She was ok,and also professed my alegence to you ladies,,see,,men sometimes say,,It’s lonely at the top,,that’s cause we’re loners,,well,,thats why I enjoyed my moms team so much,,they wouldn’t let a teammate slip into lonelyness,,win or not,,they were always together,,happy or sad,,even today Hope,,even today…..
What you’ve written is really inspirational to me as a goalkeeper and part of a team. I never gave up on you and I always knew that you’d come back even stronger.GO USA
I just wanna say that I’m really happy and proud of you, you’re an inspiration for me. I live in Honduras, and I remember the first time I saw a women’s soccer game on tv, it was during the 2011 world cup, you guys were wonderful btw. Hopefully this summer, you will finally lift that cup up, I really hope you do, you have a great team, and you’re an amazing goalkeeper. Best of luck for the world cup. Go Team USA!!
I’m a 70 year old guy with 5 grand daughters and one great grand daughter so I have a vested interest in women’s sports. I’m a big fan of you and women’s soccer and I really enjoy and am learning more about the game the more I watch and read. This blog has given me some fun insight on what’s going on and how you’re feeling, and I’m glad you’re feeling pretty good. I never was on the international stage like you but believe me I got myself into some crazy stuff in my 20s and 30s that could have put me under but I learned and had to make some changes. I also have no regrets because I was just trying to enjoy life and raise a little hell along the way. You and Abby seem to be the rocks and foundation on that team and I wish you nothing but the best forever. Go USA!
All the way from Australia, just wanted to let you know that you are doing such a great job not only with the US Team but with developing yourself and the kind of person you want to be 🙂 all great things take time and i believe that you are and will continue to be one of the greats in between the US posts xx
You have some big fans on my youth girls team Hope. What a brave and honest communication. We wish you all the best for the WC and look forward to watching (and re-watching…and pausing lol) some amazing saves in 2015.
Congratulations on the beginning of your new blog. Great first article, very interesting to read. I forwarded the link to my 11 year old daughter who is a goalkeeper. You made many valid points which back up some topics that my husband and I talk to her about often. Thank you for sharing with us. Best of luck and we look forward to reading about all of your adventures.
Congratulations on the beginning of your new blog. Great first article, very interesting to read. I forwarded the link to my 11 year old daughter, Ela, who is a goalkeeper. You made many valid points which back up some topics that my husband and I talk to her about often. Thank you for sharing with us. Best of luck and we look forward to reading about all of your adventures.
Nothing like a good look into your soul to come back with a Positive Attitude! We all look forward to this summer games with you at your best!!!!! Thank you for sharing this.
So glad Hope is back! Cannot wait for the team to win the Word Cup! It’s gonna happen. Wish I could be there live but will settle for seeing them in St. Louis. Keep up the good work, Hope! We can’t do it without you!!
Thank you for being so honest and helping us to realize how human we all are. Going through emotional and mental challenges is not fun, and the fat that you faced them and are overcoming your issues is refreshing. My daughter thinks of you as a hero, and I always knew that there was something inside of you that was truly special. Life is not easy. It sounds like those who surround you are always there for you and that is all you can hope for. Best of luck to you in the coming months. We are so excited to travel to Canada and see some of the World Cup games. Our family is one of your biggest fans and we have been for a long time! Kudos to you for opening up and allowing us to share in your healing.
Not many people are willing to work on themselves and you’re doing just that -approaching the issue and putting things in the right perspective. I commend you for that. Keep fighting the right battles and ignore those naysayers.I’m genuinely happy for you and your team.
Best of luck
Hope, you’ve always been a great natural player. I don’t know if this analytical side you talked about during your time away from the team and are now showing in your blog are new, but either way, I think it is really good. All that you have been through and all the work you have done on yourself have prepared you for this. You are ready for this world cup. You’ve got this.
I am a big fan of yours and love reading your blog. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Some of us are not as good at expressing ourselves and that can be hard for others to understand. 2015 World Cup Champs here we come!!!!
You are the definition of what a true champion is. If you fail get back up and learn from the experience. It only makes you better.
SHES BACK BETTER THAN EVER!
So happy & proud of you for how much you’ve taken on in the last few months. It’s great to see you enjoying your teammates and experiences and giving people the opportunity to see how amazing a person & teammate you are as well. Keep up the amazing work and know you have a huge support group cheering you both on and off the field.
Thank you for writing this. I have no doubt that younger players will take positive messages from this. I’ve already shared some of it with my daughter’s coach.
Loved reading this! Thank you for sharing some insight on your journey with us. My daughter is 12 and a goal keeper, she loves you (she has your quotes all over her room and bathroom mirror ;). She’s been incredibly blessed to train with Graeme, which I know you both have in common. Huge fans and we plan on cheering you and the team on in Canada this summer!!
I’m 19 years old and I’m from Portugal. I’ve grown up playing soccer and even though I’m portuguese the only women’s national team I support is the USWNT.
You are my biggest inspiration everyday and I would love to have any contact possible with you someday. The fact that you are sharing all this with the fans makes me really happy because your stories are what makes me believe in a better future even for myself. Struggling with depression, you are the reason I never stop trying and see everyday as a new challenge! I’ve always admired you and everything I’ve heard about you from the media never made me think about you in a different way because, even if they are true, everyone makes mistakes but the people who choose to grow from them are the ones worth look up to. I look up to you, always will. Be strong!
Great blog. I’m so glad to see you benefitting from your time off and creating strong and positive relationships with your teammates. What a wonderful result. I’m happy to read your insights into the game – as a student of the game, I appreciate reading your insights and commentary. A open and happy Hope Solo will go far toward getting the USA that World Cup trophy. I look forward to reading this over the next couple of months! See you when you come to STL and hopefully in Winnipeg!
Hi Hope, thank you for writing the blog and giving us a sense of what it’s like through your eyes. I’m so glad to see you back with the team and loved reading that you have found your joy for the game again!! It really showed !!
Thank you for sharing, Hope!
And I can attest to the smiling part – seeing you after the first game vs Norway as you were coming off the field and then at the bus you had the biggest smile on your face and you looked genuinly happy which in return made me happy! It’s so nice to see you back with the team and in that goal doing what you do the best!
I never doubted you Hope, not for a second and I knew that if anyone can go through all that stuff and come out stronger it’s you!
So happy you’re back!!:)))
I just want to say that you are an amazing goal keeper and I hope I can be half as good as you in the box. You are such an inspiration and I absolutely loved reading your blog. I also want to say that I got your book as a gift and I can’t wait to start reading. Good luck and I hope you guys bring home the cup！
Honestly theirs so much I can say about you that I love. I’m always looking up to you. Your one of my heros and I love watching you play. I’m so glad your back on the team. And I can’t wait to see you play in the World Cup. Your one of my biggest inspirations in the game of soccer and your one of the reason I never give up. You mean the world to me. I love you
Best of luck to you and the girls of the red, white, and blue! Great to have you back and truly an inspirational blog!
Hope, thank you for your candor. You are one of the best goalkeepers I have witnessed in my lifetime. But what people forget is that you are human and capable of mistakes. I’m glad you are working on yourself and I’m super stoked for you to help the team bring that World Cup back to the USA :). Keep working hard on and off the field and let the negative comments and people float away like that Portuguese wind.
Thanks for the honest words. I have been a fan of yours as long as you’ve been on the US team, no matter what critics have said. It’s great to see you taking steps to process things in your life. You are an incredible goalkeeper and we need you this summer! Keep up the good work. You are an inspiration to so many!
very happy to know that you are back and that you are doing good in all you have overcome and gone through. ALSO letting you know my daughter is a huge fan of yourself but also of all of your teammates. keep up the great things you are doing and all will be great in your life but be true to yourself and your heart.
Hi Hope! I am one of your avid fan here in the Philippines. I have been following you since the 2007 World Cup. YOU are my inspiration and i looked up to you. I am so happy of what you are today, trying to be the best person you can be. I know it is not easy but you persevere. I hope you will win the World Cup this June and be awarded again as the best goalkeeper of the tournament. Good luck in everything you do!
This is truly great to read. Obviously having to go through what you did it terrible, but the hard times really do make us stronger. I’m a young goalkeeper and I’ll be attending all of the U.S. matches in Vancouver this summer for the World Cup. My family and I are looking forward to seeing you between the posts. Never give up, and thank you for this post.
We are all human, everyone makes mistakes, but it’s how we grow from them that is important. You’re an amazing athlete and person. The way you are making every effort to better yourself on and off the field is commendable. You are never alone, or forgotten. I’m so happy you took the time you needed for yourself. You are the true foundation on the field. Having you in the box seems to bring so much confidence to the other players on the field. Keep striving for excellence and you will have gold this summer.
I am really good at making bad decisions. So much so as a result of one I was so depressed I didn’t leave my house for quite some time. You went through what you went through and you moved on to win the Algarve Cup. I’m am now and will forever be a Hope Solo fan. I look forward to reading more of your blogs and cheering the rest of the USWNT to a World Cup win.
I am rooting for both you and the team as you head into the World Cup. I will be there cheering you on! Take care of yourself and thank you for sharing your journey with us.
I love you Hope! I have Twin daughters who played Div.. I soccer in college,soccer Mom forever and you have been one of favorite players.. We learn new things about ourselves everyday and will make mistakes,because we are all human ! Good luck to you and the US Women’s soccer team in the World Cup!!!
I am following you! I am a goalkeeper I am from Costa Rica! Pura Vida m/
What wonderful insight into yourself and the team. Keep searching, keep growing, and keep being you. My belief in you has never wavered. Time to bring home that World Cup. Can’t wait to wait to watch the rest of your journey unfold.
Its so amazing to read about little details and traditions of the uswnt. I am truly and incredibly proud of you to be able to reach out to us all and share these experiences with us. Keep up the great attitude and work. Go USA Go Hope Solo!!!
Huge fan of yours and a former goalie myself from NJ. Christie Rampone (Pierce back when I first started watching you guys) was my assistant coach for Wall my freshmen year. I’m glad to see you’re doing better and getting your life in perspective. We all have rough patches in our lives but it’s how we deal and overcome those rough endeavors that truly makes us. I’m really happy to see you back in the net and doing so well. I don’t know if you read these comments but know that you have a friend here just wishing you the best in life. I’m going to pass on some wise words I was once told: What you put into this world, you will get out of it! All the best hope! Maybe I will get to see you play in the World Cup this summer since Canada is a hop skip and a jump from Rochester NY.
Jackie (Chompers) Nieves
You are such an inspiration to me. I play football being a girl nd in goal. I really enjoyed reading your blog. One day i hope to achieve what you hav achieved
People have shown over the entire history of the Earth that they can endure, and indeed overcome, any kind of peril or evil; as long as they still have hope.
Congrats on your first blog, and on a very sincere and introspective post!
thank you for the total commitment, Hope, not only to the fans, Team USA and the game — most importantly, to yourself. do this for you, and it will be good enough for us.
Great article Hope! I’m so glad you’re feeling better and getting some help. I can’t wait to watch you and the U.S. team win the World Cup this summer, good luck!
Great job Hope!!! I got your jersey for Christmas, and I can’t wait to wear it to Canada!!!
You are truly an inspiration Hope. The drive you have to improve yourself as a person and player is really admirable. Seeking help in a therapist is nothing to shy away from. Mental health is still such a taboo topic, you sharing that you are seeking help is doing a great service for people everywhere. Keep up the good work and kick some butt!
Nice insights! And nice writing. Humility is the beautiful. There are a lot of facets to you, Hope. I look forward to reading your outlooks on Soccer and life. Thanks for all the inspiration!
See you in Seattle and Canada!
Thank you, Hope, for letting us in. It takes a great deal of courage to open ones self up and let the anyone in, in your instance, the world. I read your memoir and truly admire your work ethic and tenacity. The way you deal with adversity head-on is inspirational. I praise you for seeking help. The Grecians believed that a strong mind needed a strong body and it’s pertinent to take care of one’s mental health. I look forward to your next entry.
Sending good vibes.
Hi Hope your such a great person and i loved readying what you had to say. I could tell that it all really came from the heart. Your such an insperation your love for the game is so great. You work so hard and and you deserve to win this summer I believe in you and i know America does to. Good luck vs New Zealand on april 4 I can’t wait to watch you. And you showed me that no matter what happens you have to always stay positive and move forward. And be ok with making mistakes your mistakes i think have made you stronger and they have made me stronger too. I am 15 and I’m a boy and you inspire me too I will always look up to you. Thanks Hope!
Great start to your blog Hope and happy for all the positive changes you’ve been making. Keep pushing! Cant wait to read more.
So proud of you Hope, keep up the good work! Excited to hear you are finding your place again with your soccer family. We forget sometimes that family isn’t all about blood relations it’s also about who we CHOSE to be fami;y with. Stay open and honest, let the game come to you, and just be….
I knew I liked Hope for more than just your good looks and awesome playing ability. Pretty cool. Everybody has a story.
It’s not what your given, it’s how much do you want it. The most successful business leaders and athletes have all facets of their life in check. You’re an inspiration Hope. Keep up the good fight…because we all know you’re a fighter! And that’s a compliment. 🙂
Looking forward to you being at the top of your game when we go up to Vancouver.
Hope, Life is sometimes exactly like being in front of the goal, waiting and fighting against what’s coming at you. Keep rewriting your life, friend. Don’t lose sight of who you are and who you want to be. There is peace in knowing those things. And then the strength comes. Thanks for sharing with us.
Thank you for allowing us into your personal struggles and successes. I can only imagine how hard this all has been on you with everything going on in your life being blasted into the spot light. I am really inspired by your courage and perseverance. it has been amazing to watch you back on the field smiling and doing what you do best. I have believed in you since day 1 and I will continue to and cheer you on at all times. Thank you for letting us be a part of your life. I am very excited to see your future posts and am looking forward to your many upcoming successes. stay strong hope. #webelieveinyou
Thank you so much for teaching us how to be great and how to be vulnerable. We need every great woman possible to step up and lead by example. Women are going to save the world, and you are on the right side of that story. Never step away.
Good for you, Hope. 🙂 Keep it up. We could probably all use some therapy sometimes, or at least having someone to talk to, to work through our issues. Congrats on having the courage to start doing that, as many people never do.
And Good Luck to you all this summer!
Hope !! Yo soy una chica de colombia .Admiro mucho tu forma de ser portera .. Me alegra mucho que todo este saliedo bien. Me gusta leer mucho todo lo que publicas .. Eres mi ídola . !!
Gracias .. Espero que todo siga bien …
To my idol,
“Strength does not come from physical means, but rather, indomitable will.”
I’m beyond proud of you baby girl. I believe in you. In fact, I’ve never lost hope 😉 You’re a truly amazing spirit. *hugs*
#GOUSA #HOPESOLOFORLIFE #WORLDSBEST !!!!!!!!
Much Respect and thank you Hope for sharing, it’s never an easy thing to do. God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle continue to heal, learn and grow. Your name is HOPE for reason.
It’s pretty amazing to be ready this the day after your prediction came true. That new defense with young players has become the best in the world with your leadership.
It’s interesting to re-read your comments on Julie and Becky from March, now that the World Cup is over and WON, well done by the way. You called it on them, the back 4 and you were fantastic!
j’ai toujours envie de pleurer quand je pense à toi Hope.