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Archive for November, 2012

Hope Solo, What Really Matters

            I’d have Hope Solo on my side any day. I’d want her protecting the goal. I’d want Hope Solo in my corner of the ring. She’s the best in the world at what she does. Her stats back it up; she has the experience under her belt. She’s been on this team for more than 10 years. A huge superstar athlete like Hope is constantly in the spotlight. There’s no avoiding it. It will find you, it will hunt you down, and with no doubt, it will not leave you alone.

            That’s the thing with Hope. She’s meant to be a role model to young girls, she’s supposed to be this picture perfect athlete who never does anything wrong. Someone with as high a celebrity status as Hope can’t always be perfect. In fact, why should she have to be? What’s her life is hers and only hers. She’s a grown up, she can do what she wants to do. On the field, she’s playing for her country. Off the field, she’s allowed to have her own life. Agree or not, she’ll do what she wants. Who are we to stop her?

            Hope Solo is married to Jerramy Stevens. No secret there anymore. It’s her life and I feel she shouldn’t have to live with the word, “controversy” constantly next to her name. By the outside world’s life, what she does is always a little bit, “controversial”. Every step she makes, every decision she chooses seems to be in constant scrutiny by someone, somewhere. They’re afraid she might be distracted from her job, bring too much negative attention to the team, and that her quality as a goalkeeper will suffer if she continues to create, “drama”.

            Let’s be honest here, she didn’t create the drama with Jerramy. The public did. We looked at him and decided, “You know what, I don’t like him. His rap sheet is longer than his stat sheet.” Be it true or not, Hope sees something in him that we don’t. Her private life is private. We don’t get many details, but when we do we judge off of those. She says they’re happy. If we’re true fans, we take those words to heart and let them be. All that matters is that the two of them are happy with each other.

            One thing I’m sure of, Hope Solo is not distracted whatsoever when she steps on the field to play for her country. I don’t understand why people think that all this controversy swarming around will distract her. If anything, it would motivate her. With her brilliant play, she tells everyone that once she’s on that field there is only one thing on her mind, a shutout. As long as she’s not letting goals in and not making errors on the field, than she’s doing her job and everyone should be focused on her play, the on the field stuff, not off the field stuff.

            I think Hope said it best, “I feel bad for those who judge with their eyes and not their hearts. Let’s not sensationalize things for the sake of “news” and call it truth.” It’s not easy to be in the spotlight constantly. It’s hard when you try to live your life, but people are always there to question. Hope deals with it a lot, and while she’s not perfect, she doesn’t need the constant judgment from the public. Controversy or not, there’s no denying she’s the best at what she does. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Looking up at the score board, and seeing a zero next to the good ol’ US of A.    


Why We Need Ali Krieger Back, Quickly

Ali Krieger has this undeniable swag that no other right back in the world possesses. The fist clenching, face covering, teeth gritting moment when she went down, hard, sticks in a lot of fans’ minds. Then there was the heart sinking moment where the news came out that Ali had sustained a torn ACL and MCL. The world’s best right back and a rock in the USWNT back line was likely out of the Olympics. “Determination”, was clearly the motto of the year for this team. Liebe, the word written on each player’s arm as they tried to move on past what had happened. As much as they played like they had forgotten, I doubt there was one time when someone didn’t say or think, “Let’s do this for Krieger.”

Ali means so much to our team. A player must exude a confidence and bravery when the world’s best forwards are coming at them. Countless times she has made incredible saves, tackles, and even services into the box. Krieger can get forward and play in the attack, but then she is quick enough to realize the oncoming danger and hustle to regain her position in the back four. When she was on the field the defense was communicating superb and playing great soccer. That’s not to say the USWNT isn’t playing great soccer now, but our defense is lacking a certain spark that comes with a player like Ali Krieger.

Amy LePeilbet has taken over right back, Kelley O’Hara is at left back, and Captain America is at center back along with either Becky Sauerbrunn or Rachel Buehler. Kelley is a converted forward gone defender; Amy LePeilbet is playing out of her normal central defender position as well. Heather Mitts is a versatile player able to play wherever she’s needed, and we found out Sydney Leroux can play right back as well.

The only issue with this is we have three players playing out of position. This goes to show how big of a gap was left after Ali was injured. The coaching staff was trying out tons of different defenses because Ali is in a word, irreplaceable. Just think that if Ali is in her normal right back position, we can have O’Hara back at attacking midfielder, LePeilbet as a center back with Rampone, Buehler, Sauerbrunn, or Mitts at left back. Once Ali is on the field, our defense will be stronger than ever, a brick wall really. If I were Hope Solo, I would be extremely confident with the four players helping me defend the goal.

Ali Krieger has never backed down from a fight. In 2005 after being short of breath, she went to the hospital. She had developed a pulmonary embolism which caused six mini heart attacks. If she had gone to sleep, doctors say she would not have woken up the next day. She’s made an incredible comeback in the minimal amount of time a normal ACL tear takes to heal. She’s worked hard and did it all without ever losing hope and always being positive.

We need Ali Krieger back. With Tom Sermanni coming in, it would be an enormous mistake to leave someone so talented off the roster. If anyone knows the game, they know Ali Krieger is as good as it comes. Determination, Liebe, and a lot of hard work goes a long way. Whether it’s on the field right next to her teammates or across the Atlantic Ocean in Germany, she’s always with the team. But it goes for a lot of fans when I say; let’s get her back where she belongs, on the field with the U.S. Women’s National Team.