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US women’s soccer coach says sun was in Hope Solo’s eyes during early goals

Allowing two goals in the first half of a match is not something that happens to US Women’s soccer goalie Hope Solo very often. Solo is widely considered to be one of the best — if not the best — goalies in the world. The Americans found themselves trailing 2-0 to France in London on Wednesday after only 14 minutes of play. Fortunately, Alex Morgan was able to score two goals and the US came back to win 4-2. But how did that happen to Hope? Her coach blames the sun.

“(Solo) played better in the second half,” Pia Sundhage said according to USA TODAY. “I think the sun was a little bit bothering to her according to (goalkeeper coach) Paul Rogers, who has been working with her for a long time. Right now she’s really good. I think she was a little bit unlucky in the first half but she played with confidence in the second half. It will be interesting to follow her in the coming games.”

Naturally, Solo made no excuses and certainly wasn’t about to play the sun card.

“There are going to be nerves,” Solo said. “There are going to be unpredictable things that do happen, but that’s what keeps it interesting. … Was the sun a factor, as coach Pia said? I will never use that as an excuse (laughing). There was definitely a glare. It’s a factor, but so is rain and wind. It’s the Olympics and I won’t use it as an excuse.”

There’s also going to be raunchy distractions in the Olympic Village as Solo so kindly shared with the world, but those can’t be used as an excuse either. Sun or no sun, the important thing was the US was able to quickly climb back into the game and remain focused. I’d be surprised if they find themselves trailing by two goals early in the second half many times during the tournament.

Hope Solo was conceived during a conjugal visit

When you watch an athlete on TV or while attending a game, you don’t really think about who they are as a person. You don’t really think about where they came from, what they went through, and what made them who they are. We often just coldly judge athletes based on the hired entertainers we perceive them to be without considering anything else about them. It seems like Hope Solo is trying to change that about herself.

The US women’s soccer team goalie has published an autobiography entitled “Solo: A Memoir of Hope” that goes on sale August 14. Excerpts from the book were released by NBC Olympics on Monday, and they detail Solo’s rough upbringing.

Solo says her father was in and out of her life growing up. He had multiple families, fathered children with different women, and had them living in homes paid for by money he embezzled from a company where he worked. Solo described him as a con man and ladies man who “was unreliable at best and a criminal at worst.”

And get this: Solo says she was conceived during a conjugal visit while her father was serving a prison sentence in Washington.

That’s enough to give you an idea of how rough things were for Hope. She says she’s made peace with her father and that has helped prevent her from being bitter and angry.

Solo described the process of divulging all her secrets as therapeutic, comparing it to having a childhood counselor.

“It was hard. I came to grips with a lot of difficulties that I’ve overcome,” Solo told NBC. “Each challenge kind of makes you who you are. It wasn’t always a good thing. I have my own struggles in my life because of the things I was forced to overcome. So it was hard, it was a reality check, for sure. But I am really happy I’ve done it.

“I just want people to not judge with their eyes, but judge with their hearts, and I think that’s what this book is all about,” she says.

The book comes out August 14. Based on the excerpt and how openly Solo speaks in general, the book should be excellent.

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Brandi Chastain: Hope Solo’s drug test was distraction team didn’t need

LBS spoke with former gold medal and World Cup winning soccer player Brandi Chastain recently to preview Team USA’s chances at the Summer Games in London. Chastain spoke with me on behalf of the Capital One Cup, which was won by Stanford and Florida in 2012, and for whom she is a spokesperson. We discussed Hope Solo’s positive drug test, compared the World Cup to the Olympics, and talked about Team USA.

Chastain felt Solo’s positive drug test was an unnecessary distraction for the team ahead of the Games.

“It’s news that they don’t need,” Chastain told Larry Brown Sports. “As athletes, we have to be more careful. Whether you’ve been told one time something is OK, it’s always good to double and triple and quadruple check. Something as innocuous as a cold medication to clear up the sniffles could derail not only you as an individual, but perhaps a whole team.

“I was disappointed that it came up because for as careful as I think everybody is, I think we could all go without some medication for a short amount of time and not suffer too greatly,” she said. “The good thing about this news is that it’s at a time when we can still be able to talk about it, discuss it, get over it, and move on. There’s enough time before the start of the Olympics to put it behind them once they’ve taken care of it.”

Chastain says the drug testing process is a nuisance, but necessary.

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Hope Solo speaks openly on sex and debauchery in the Olympic Village

Some stories have managed to get out to the public realm, but, largely, the legendary amount of hooking up that takes place in the Olympic Village each Olympiad has been one of the better-kept secrets of the Games.

However, a tremendous, new ESPN The Magazine story is doing its part to blow the lid wide off on the frat house-like atmosphere of the swanky digs Olympians call home for two-plus weeks. In tremendous and shocking detail, too, thanks to several candid former and current Olympians.

One of the athletes who spoke openly about their wild experiences at the Olympic Village is massively popular U.S. women’s soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo, who won gold four years ago in Beijing and has already had made her share of headlines this week.

“There’s a lot of sex going on,” Solo said. So much, in fact, that U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte estimates that “70 percent to 75 percent of Olympians” engage in what Bill Clinton would call “sexual relations.”

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Hope Solo tests positive for banned substance Canrenone, gets off with warning

Hope Solo tested positive for a prohibited substance during a June 15 drug test, but the U.S. Anti-Doping Association (USADA) let her off with just a warning after she claimed a medication was responsible for the positive test.

The 30-year-old goalkeeper tested positive for Canrenone, which is prohibited by USADA, WADA, and FIFA.

USADA explains why she got off:

Canrenone is classified as a Specified Substance, and therefore the presence of Canrenone in an athlete’s sample can result in a reduced sanction. Solo was taking a prescribed medication, in a therapeutic dose under the care of a physician. The medication when metabolized resulted in the adverse analytical finding.

Solo defended herself with the following statement:

“I took a medication prescribed by my personal doctor for pre-menstrual purposes that I did not know contained a diuretic. Once informed of this fact, I immediately cooperated with USADA and shared with them everything they needed to properly conclude that I made an honest mistake, and that the medication did not enhance my performance in any way. As someone who believes in clean sport, I am glad to have worked with USADA to resolve this matter and I look forward to representing my country at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.”

Diuretics are often taken by people looking to flush their system after taking PEDs. Athletes are advised to consult USADA before taking any medication to avoid a positive drug test. USADA is raising suspicion by accepting this explanation, especially with the Olympics beginning in the coming weeks.

Photo credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

Hope Solo makes incredible save against Canada (Video)

We haven’t heard much from Hope Solo around these parts recently. Not since the afterglow of the U.S. women’s soccer team’s thrilling run to the World Cup finals last summer. But that’s kind of how it is for women soccer players. They become rock stars when major tournaments are taking place, and then, unfortunately, they more or less toil in obscurity the rest of the time (unless they go on “Dancing with the Stars” or pose naked or wearing body paint for magazines).

But the good news for Solo and the rest of the ladies on the USWNT is that the Olympics are coming up, and that’s a major tournament in women’s soccer. On Saturday, they won their final tune-up before heading to the U.K., beating Canada 2-1 in a sweltering Salt Lake City thanks to a late goal by Amy Rodriguez. But the Canadians almost got an extra goal in the closing moments of the first half. One Canadian player took a shot that deflected off a U.S. defender. Solo, moving to her right for the original trajectory of the shot, had to suddenly switch her momentum. She just barely stopped the ball from crossing the goal line and also secured the rebound. It was an impressive save and shows why Solo’s considered the best at what she does.

Video via Outside the Boxscore

Hope Solo open to dating again

Hope Solo is as busy as anybody can get. Between training with the U.S. Women’s National Team for the Olympics this summer, stints on “Dancing with the Stars” and playing for the Seattle Sounders women’s squad, she barely has any time to herself. But despite the active schedule, Solo is working on getting back into “the game.” And by “the game,” I mean the game of love.

“I make time for it all, and I don’t know how I do it because I feel like I never have time for my friends and family, or any of my loved ones, I guess you could put it,” Solo told YourTango.com (via the Seattle P-I). “But yeah, I like to try to remain balanced. And I can’t be all soccer — go, go, go, go — I need a social life, I need a life outside of soccer. So I very much welcome, you know, new love interests and dating and friends and family. You know, it’s all part of life.”

During the World Cup last year, Solo’s popularity reached such enormous heights that complete strangers longed for her hand in marriage. So I guess this is good news for all the delusional admirers who think they have a chance with her.

We wish Solo the best of luck in her quest for a companion. It can’t be easy with a surplus of sleazy dudes lusting after her. It’ll probably only get worse once the Olympics kick into gear and the USWNT is kicking tail. But maybe this is the open door that hopeless romantic C.J. Sapong has been waiting for.

Photo credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE