Former UW and current US national team and Seattle Reign FC goalkeeper Hope Solo met with the local media today, on the day Reign season tickets went on sale.
I'll be dropping in some highlights below ... starting here:
On playing in Seattle: I never thought it would happen, to be honest. First off, when I came to the University of Washington I told my family I would never stay in the State of Washington: I was going to go to the east coast and play. And then I fell in love. I played at UDub and really started my career here in the State of Washington, and I have so much support it only seems fitting to end my career here in Washington – not that I’m retiring anytime soon. But yeah, that was my dream: to eventually play professionally here in the city that I do love.
On the National Women's Soccer League: Of course there’s always opportunity, because America loves soccer and the sport is always growing. Of course, Seattle loves soccer. You can see from the Sounders men’s team, of course. But as long as there’s passion and the love of the game, then there’s room for growth. I’m not surprised that another league has come out this quickly.
On this league lasting, after others had failed: Absolutely. I’m more comfortable than I ever have been, and I’ve been in a lot of failed leagues, unfortunately. But this one’s different: There’s a different business plan, there’s a different business model, and it has the backing of U.S. Soccer.
On the relevance of U.S. Soccer involvement: Well, U.S. Soccer is playing my salary. They’re playing the salaries for the best players, for the national team players. So that takes a lot of weight off the shoulders of the owners, and it should create longevity for the league to survive.
On switching from Sounders Women to Reign: I’m still grateful to the Sounders. I still go to the men’s Sounders games. I’m a Sounders fan. But like I said, this is a different level. There’s no competition because it’s a different level. It’s a Division II team vs. a pro team. And they’re still doing wonderful things for the sport as well. … We’re all in it together to build the game here in the city. So there shouldn’t be affects. You’re going to get maybe your right-out-of-college players playing for the Sounders -- maybe trying to get more experience at a higher level before they maybe filter over to the Reign. So it could be looked as a really good thing, if we try to look at it that way. … We had a great season, getting 5,000 people to the games for the women Sounders. But unfortunately, I think many of those fans were there to see many of the high caliber players that were in town: the Megan Rapinoes, the Alex Morgans. So there shouldn’t be a competition for fans, but ultimately I think this city wants to see the best of the best.
On having Rapinoe as a Reign teammate: Oh she’s one of my favorite players. I’m happy she loves this city. I love to share the city with my national team teammates. But she’s a special player. She’s just so talented and exciting to watch and just brings flair and excitement to the game that not a lot of players do. I think another player who can bring that flair is a player like Tobin Heath (assigned to Portland). But to have a player as exciting as Megan Rapinoe on the team, it’s just going to fill the stands with more fans.
On if she wanted to take any first shots at the rival Portland Thorns: That is what you’re expecting of me, right? That Hope Solo you guys know and love. I’ll do what it takes to win a championship. But yes, Portland, they have quite a roster. But (Reign owner Bill Predmore) and I were just talking, it’s never what you think on paper. It never comes to fruition during the season. So we’ll have to wait and see.
With that little opening in the door, the topic then switched to her personal life, including her marriage to former Husky and Seahawk Jerramy Stevens.
On her past few months, personally and professionally: It’s been a crazy year, as always. The story of my life. But it’s been a great year. Obviously with the Olympics, after losing the World Cup, coming back and winning gold against Japan was incredible. I’m still waiting for the at World Cup trophy, so I’m going to go after it, go hard for another three or four years. But personally, that’s part of life. There’s a lot of ups and downs. Right now I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my personal life. I’m happily married. Yeah, there’s lots of ups and downs, but that’s what makes us strong is getting through them all.
On the public perception of her: I don’t really care what they think. I’m perfectly fine and I’m happy, and at the end of the day it’s the people closest to me that matter. … My personal life is in the spotlight, but people say what they want to say. The truth isn’t in the spotlight: I’m in the spotlight, but not the truth. That’s hard to accept, but that is unfortunately how the world is and how the media is.
On possible advantages of being married to another athlete: Absolutely. He knows the struggles, the daily grind, the mentality that it takes to be on top. He gets it.