Published On: Thu, May 4th, 2017

Hope Solo granted personal leave from club following USWNT ban

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Hope Solo has been granted personal leave from the Seattle Reign for an indefinite period, following her six-month suspension from the United States women’s team.

The 35-year-old saw her national-team contract canceled due to salty, disparaging comments she made about Sweden following her country’s quarterfinal exit at Rio 2016 via a penalty shootout on Aug. 12.

Related: U.S. Soccer suspends Solo 6 months, terminates contract for ‘cowards’ comment

Now, amid media scrutiny since Solo dubbed the Swedes “cowards,” she will at least sit out Saturday’s visit from Cascadia rivals Portland Thorns.

Winners of four of the previous five Olympic finals, the USWNT was a strong favorite to add another trophy to the cabinet, which already includes recent Gold Cup and World Cup silverware. Through 120 minutes of action in Rio, however, the States and Sweden were inseparable at 1-1, leaving the quarterfinal to be decided on spot kicks.

Despite Solo’s best efforts to unsettle Lisa Dahlkvist ahead of Sweden’s fifth penalty by switching gloves, the underdog prevailed 4-3 from 12 yards. It sparked a bitter tirade from Solo when referring to her defensively stout opponent.

“We played a bunch of cowards,” Solo spat. “The best team didn’t win today. I strongly believe that.”

She added: “Sweden dropped off. They didn’t want to open play. They didn’t want to pass the ball. They didn’t want to play great soccer. It was a combative game, a physical game. Exactly what they wanted and exactly what their game plan was.

“They didn’t try and press. They didn’t want to open the game. And they tried to counter with long balls … I don’t think they’re going to make it very far in the tournament. I think it was very cowardly. But they won. They’re moving on, and we’re going home.”

Sweden was beaten courtesy of a penalty shootout by host Brazil in the next round, while Solo was widely condemned for her comments before being suspended by U.S. Soccer.

Related – Rapinoe speaks out against Solo’s Sweden jabs: ‘That’s not our team’

Solo’s words further damaged a reputation that has already been tarnished by previous misdemeanors, but her name is still deeply etched into the history of women’s football. The Washington native has won 202 caps – more than any other goalkeeper – and 102 clean sheets, which is also unlikely to be matched by a rival shot-stopper anytime soon.

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