Sunday, September 30, 2007

What kind?

"We are women of heart," said Abby Wambach after the win versus Norway.

Then I read this:

• The U.S. players are taking this Hope Solo business seriously. None of her teammates seemed sure if she'd be flying home on the team plane, and none of them seemed to care too much. She's definitely persona non grata, and it's going to take a lot of work for her to regain her teammates' trust.

From the World Cup reports, its clear that Solo apologized. Her teammates know better than anyone how hard she worked and how hurt she was and how emotionally fragile with the memories of her father. Apparently, an apology is not enough.

Exactly what kind of heart is involved here? Stone? Forgiveness? Frozen strawberry slushie?


Albert said...

Are the USWNT so disconnected by the USSF that they do not have a feel of other perceptions of them out there? That bubble is about to burst as soon as they reach US soil. Let's see if they still buy into the us against the world mentality.

A.C. said...

Actually, I had to laugh when at one point after the Norway game, Abby Wambach was being interviewed and she mentioned reading blogs. She didn't specify which ones, but my ears still perked up.

On the other hand, our little soccer blog isn't that famous - I like to think only the most discriminating and knowledgeable soccer fans are aware of our existance.

But just in case, "Hi Abby! Congrats on the 6 goals!"

bfos said...

At first, I was just upset at the organization. But, not it seems that the players are just as disturbed and childish as their coach (brainwashed?).

I have a post on bigsoccer about how I just can't support this team. And the more I read and hear about them, there are actually feelings of hating this team that are starting to creep up. What a disgrace.

Braden said...

I especially love the comment on how Greg Ryan just handled the whole thing a whole lot better than a hypothetical Bruce Arena. I seem to recall a certain Beasley making an aside comment to a reporter about how Bruce's secretive line-ups and poor pre-game player preparation made it difficult for the players at last year's world cup.

To my knowledge, Arena didn't hold a team meeting to vote Beasley off the team plane back from Germany. Of course, he did lose his job...

Ben said...

It is such a shame that someone exploded an atomic bomb in a locker room, and for what ever reason, a lot of nincompoops out there thinks that it is funny, and have joined her in trashing the team. If Oliver Kahn, the best player at the Korean world cup had come out and said the nonsense that the incredible selfish Solo did, even with his accomplishment, throwing his team-mates under the bus and his coach, he would have been ostracized. Same would have occurred if Keller had done that after the form he showed but had Brad Friedel chosen over him. You guys did not hear a sound when Brazil crashed out of the last world cup playing an out of form Ronaldo, even though their locker was breaking at the seams with players who would have started in any other team. I could go on and on and on. In a locker, doing what Solo did is anathema. There is no excuse for it, absolutely not. It cannot be tolerated, it cannot be encouraged and to do so does incredible damage to the spirit of sports and TEAM. I really am ashamed at 99% of the blogs in the US. But what do you expect when a completely unaccomplished blond goes after a highly accomplished black girl? Of course, even though it is the coaches’ decision to chose a team, when it comes to those two, ONE IS ENTITLED NOMATTER WHAT, and the other must work sweat and bleed for it, and even then a pass is given to one who completely denigrated that work and sweat. In sports, no one is entitled to anything. SoLo and 99% of these nincompoops who call themselves bloggers and reporters must take a page out of David Beckam’s book, at how he rescued Madrid and England, rescuing his managers and team-mate after he was thrown in the dustbin. This is a teaching moment when America should have used to build up athletes with character; instead it has been a massive failure of leadership at all levels except with the players. What a shame. I think we just produced a lot more Hope Solo's out there. What a bloody Shame

Joan said...

Women of heart? Maybe. But absolutely no soul.

Hope Solo may have lost the team, but as far as I'm concerned, the team has lost their country.

I hope news media here at home grows a spine rips them a new one as soon as they step off the plane. And if Ryan retains his job, I hope the major college coaches refuse to release their players to him, if this is the lesson they learn from the Greatest Team on the world's biggest stage.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with most of your comments, I think RACE has nothing to do with it and should be left out of the discussion.

I think most people agree that playing Scurry against Brazil was a terrible move. It's what happened afterwards that has generated the most debate:

Whether or not Hope should have spoken to the press.

Whether or not she ment to throw Scurry under the bus.

Whether or not the team was right to banish Hope from the team from the 3rd place game.

All of this has caused a great amount of buzz on the intermet blogs and the media, but RACE has never been an issue here, so please don't make it one.

I am glad that the team played so well during the 3rd place game and am stunned that with everything that has happened there were actually US Soccer fans out there rooting against the US.

The World Cup is over now and although it wasn't the result we had all wished for, overall it was a good tournament. We have learned just how far the rest of the world has come, but the team is loaded with a lot of young, talented females like Tarpley, Chalupny, Kai, Lopez, Lloyd, and yes even Hope Solo, who will lead the team into the future.

bfos said...

Hopes comments were no more denigrating to another player than Ryan's when he lamely defended his decision to sit Hope.

One you'd never expect to hear from a manager. The other you'd always expect to hear from a player who is confident in their abilities.

Players in all sports for all time have made comments similar to Hope's in similar situations. The response to those comments is the only thing exceptional....exceptionally, sad and childish.

Anonymous said...

"None of her teammates seemed sure if she'd be flying home on the team plane, and none of them seemed to care too much."

Maybe none of them cared right after winning the Norway game about their flights. Can you imagine just finishing a game and then being asked if Hope would be on the flight home!?! Disinterest could be mistaken for annoyance at the question.

Anonymous said...

New Slogan:

"The Best Team Nobody Wants to Support Anymore"

Anonymous said...


I disagree with you a bit, as I do think that Hope deserve the initial fire she caught for her statements.

But the way the team has "united" against Hope ain't right at all. However, you alluded to the false image created by the media all these years. What has transpired in the last 48hrs shows that you were spot on(although, I knew yere ;-))

I caught Abby's comments too. She probably directly her comments to all the fanatics on BS. However, I thought it was rather obnoxious of ESPN to keep bring them in during the final match. This was about Brazil and Germany. And why does Kristine Lilly get to decide when to retire? Just go already! She's got a degree, surely she can do something else.

A.C. said...

Both Kahn and Keller did object to their demotion. The coaches (Arena and Klinsmann) let them air their gripes and then let it pass.

From the New York Times:
While Friedel played in the 2002 World Cup, Keller seethed, complaining that team officials had misled him about playing time. When asked at the time if he could appreciate how well Friedel was playing, Keller said: "Oh, I don't know. You always think you can do better."

From GermanWOrld online:
The 37-year-old Kahn will be on the substitutes bench again for Friday's quarter-final clash with Argentina and said he was still perplexed at playing second fiddle to Jens Lehmann. "I have told him (Klinsmann) clearly that I will never comprehend why I am no longer number one," said Kahn, who was number one choice when Germany made the 2002 final losing 2-0 to Brazil. "I would have expected a full explanation. But as there has not been one yet, there probably never will be."

Anonymous said...

I just read your article on and thank you. It's about time Greg Ryan and his utter failure under pressure were brought out in the open. I was hard pressed between USA and Germany on who to root for (roots go way Teutonic but we are now Americans). Once I heard Ryan was tinkering with success for no apparent reason (other than to try to prove he was a great coach), I knew the US was doomed and we started singing Deutschland - Deutschland in our house. Ryan should be fired...NOW, before they even leave China.

PHILLIP said...

I remember when Roy Keane called out his coach, on both the club and national level, same for Shearer, Beckham, Maradona, Kaka etc. Heck I remember Larry Bird calling his teamate sissies way back many instances. There's no unwritten code bs, sorry. Maybe only for strong women who was right on all counts. The rest can just stfu and abandon her. Thanks AC for posting the stuff on the US players. It goes to show how people are quick to grab the cool-aid.

Ben said...

Unfortunately race has everything to do with it. Nobody was criticizing Hope Solo for saying prior to the match that she did not understand. It is when you throw your team-mate under the bus after a harrowing defeat that you cross a big big line. Nobody, none at all except God is capable of not making mistakes. But to consider yourself the team, crosses a big line. It is a line even players of any worth in individual sports like Tennis and golf never cross. But to do it in a team-setting is even more egregious. You never heard Beckam did that, at the critical juncture in the world cup it was Kahn who went and embrace his teammate and send him off to face the Argentine penalty takers. Ladies and gentlemen, take the blinders off. Hope Solo believed that there were not eleven players that day, it was all about her, she could have won it, if only she was there, she could have done it alone...Heck you got to love this, a kid believing that world and Olympic champions in the field were worth nothing without her. What would it be next? That she will come out and say she did her part, only the morons playing attack could not score and she could not leave her post and go and rescue them? As I said, this is a team sport with a coach. No one is entitled. It is a teaching moment for America and I hope race will not cloud people's eyes as it obviously has for the real lesson to be learned here. No one could argue that Brazil was much better than the US, in the whole world cup. That from the first match against North Korea, you could actually see that they had big problems. But it is all about Hope and a coach now. I wonder, just wonder what we will be saying now if this girl did not have the legacy she does, two gold and a world cup were she was an integral part of the achievement. But no one looks at that, look at where she took soccer in this country to. Hope solo instead of throwing her under the bus should have simply said she understand the history but not the decision. It is a history she should have respected, if anything it built the program for her. I wonder what America's reaction would have been if Scurry had allowed China to come in here and bag the US scalp. I shudder. No locker room worth its while will allow a poison like that within their midst. Note that one of the best players in the world, Requilme is being paid to stay out of one. Remove your blinders ladies and gentlemen, call it as it is. It was bad bad bad for her to go after her coach and locker room, a locker room that made the bed she came in to lie in. Never in my life have I seen such selfishness and egoism celebrated as it is being done. What a shame, a bloody bloody shame.

Ben said...

On another note, Roy Kean, the absolute best of the Irish players, their soul if you will, almost a demi-god in his land, was banish from the world cup in utter disgrace by at best an annonymous coach. That is a lesson that is not old. Nobody is above the team and the coach, nobody. If we don't teach our kids that, then our country will keep going down and down and down.It is a matter of entitlement. No one is entitled to anything.

A.C. said...

Yes, Kahn encouraged Lehman, but that didn't mean he ever stopped thinking that it should have been him in the match the entire time. He was probably thinking he wouldn't have allowed the argentine goal even as he wished Lehman luck. That's how competitive athletes are programmed to think.

You're bringing up race and a whole host of irrelevant things when there are plenty of examples of athletes with drive doing this AGAIN and AGAIN. Keane was the world's biggest repeat offender at this. It's a joke to say you've never seen this level of ego. He even quit the team at one point. It's a joke to say that you've never seen such ego. It's so ridiculous you're looking like a complete foo. Hope Solo made one honest statement once, and now she is Unforgiven.

Soledad said...

Ugh, full of self-loathing, I'm compelled to comment on this story again.

If Solo is being left solo (lol, get it?) by the rest of the team maybe it says more about her than it does them. Maybe other stuff has happened with her.

I know nothing about this team, but teammates don't usually all abandon someone just because he's a mouthy jackhole who criticizes a coach or popular player. Even jackholes have a couple of friends. I mean Terrell Owens, worst person in the history of sports ever for all-time, usually has about half a locker room behind him.

So, I don't know, I'm just sayin'.

Is this a team of 20 catty bitches (+ 1 catty bitch coach) and 1 awesome misunderstood girl. Or the other way around? (With the coach being a catty bitch regardless.)

Joan said...

The team isn't even eating with her now. A team of heart? I can't think of a single good excuse for this. I'm ashamed to ever have been a fan of this team.

Ben said...

"Yes, Kahn encouraged Lehman, but that didn't mean he ever stopped thinking that it should have been him in the match the entire time."
I cannot go into Kahn's head as you obviously can, I can only listen to him and see his actions. Thank you for making my point. He thought it, same as anyone of that caliber will do. I do not begrudge Solo her thoughts, just her words and action. She must learn as must other young athletes coming up for the good of this program. We must make sure she does. It is not a job we should leave only in the hands of her coach and team mates. We fail them if we do. We've been failing them since this situation occurred. We all would have come down like a ton of bricks on the coach’s head regardless. I never said I have never seen such egoism and selfishness, but not in such a setting, and not this celebrated. No I have never seen it this celebrated.

A.C. said...

I am not going into the head of Kahn. He said exactly that - that he should be the goalkeeper, because he was better. He said it again and again, before, during and after the World Cup. He sat unhappily all through the World Cup. One hug does not change that.

A.C. said...

Solo is officially the team leper.

I especially like the final line in that USA today article, "I'm a very forgiving person," by Briana Scurry.

Because nothing says forgiveness like barring someone from team meals.

Joan said...

Not to spam your blog entirely, but:

Andrea, I'm begging you, if you cover this story more, ask the hard questions. They might not even be all that hard.

The players often talk about having families and kids one day. Should their children find out about this and ask why they behaved this way when representing their country, what will they have to say?

Sorry I'm a total drama queen.

A.C. said...

Joan, I can sympathize with you wanting to know the truth.

But I wouldn't hold my breath that this group of women wants any of the insider truth of what is really going on to come out.

I mean, isn't that what they're punishing Solo for?

JT (Chicago) said...

Which kind of heart?

The heart that knows if I stick together with the pack, then I won't be dead meat too. It's the kind of heart that figures as long as Ryan is the coach, I better support his moves or I won't get another sniff of residency camp.

As I said, some may truly agree with Ryan because they believe "the coach is always right" mantra.

However, I think there are probably a few who are just keeping their heads down, with ipods turned up, and hoping to get home before a reporter shoves a recorder in their face.

James said...

These "girls" are a bunch of cowards. I really hesitate to call them "women," because none of them have conducted themselves that way. Enjoy your little "China Bubble," in fact, perhaps you should just stay in China because AMERICA IS ASHAMED OF YOU ALL.

And Greg Ryan is the biggest coward of them all. He's the one who should be booking his passage home on a freighter.

Anonymous said...


A litte over the top your reaction yes?

If Solo is the worst thing you've ever seen in sport then you haven't been looking much. But I will say that your post contradicts itself so much as to be unreadable.

Scurry apparently believes that she is entitled to walk into a semifinal game without any real preparation and take over from a player who has been working hard and playing very well and was undefeated.

What this has to do with race is beyond me, but then I'm not on the same medication you appear to be using, so perhaps our perceptions are different. Regardless the USWNT is in a shambles and the coach must take a substantial share of the blame for that.