Hope Amelia Solo was born and raised in the Richland Tri-cities area of the state of Washington. At a young age, Hope enjoyed playing several sports including basketball, soccer, and even football with her brothers. Under the coaching influence of her father, Hope’s heart was undeniably devoted to soccer.
Hope Solo’s soccer success began in high school where her athleticism won her several achievements as a forward. As her amateur soccer career progressed, her coaches began to encourage her to switch to the goalkeeping position. A reluctant Hope accepted the challenge to learn her new place on the field. As women’s soccer progressed, Solo knew her team would need more athletic and dynamically trained goalkeepers. Hope accepted her goalkeeping position while she attended the University of Washington. As a collegian player, Solo set the record shutouts and saves. She was also a multiple recipient of the All- Pac 10 selection and All American team. Hope played for three different junior national soccer teams before receiving her first international cap as a goalkeeper for the Full Women’s National Soccer Team in 2000. She was later acquired onto the Women’s United Soccer Association’s Philadelphia team The Charge in 2003 but not as the starting goalkeeper. To gain a learning advantage, Solo made the decision to play professional soccer overseas in France and Sweden. Though she appreciated the experience and the knowledge she gained while playing in different countries, Hope was determined to play professional soccer for her country. She won the starting position on the USWNT in 2005. Two years later, the roster for the 2007 Women’s World Cup listed Hope Solo as starting goal keeper in the biggest tournament of her career. Two months prior to 2007 World Cup, Hope Solo’s father suffered a heart attack and died unexpectedly. From then on, Hope proclaimed that she would dedicate every game to her father.
Keeping her word to honor her father, Hope only allowed 2 goals in four games then led the team to three consecutive shutouts. Prior to the semi-final game against Brazil, the coach of the Women’s National Team decided to switch goalkeepers in spite of Solo’s shutout record. The team subsequently lost the match and their chance to bring home the gold. An understandably disappointed and hurt Solo was approached by the media to conduct an interview of her reaction to the game. Her emotionally charged response was interpreted as an insult to the entire team. In response to her comments to the media, the coach decided to bench Hope for the remainder of the tournament. Several of the players even went as far as to ignore Hope as she was banished from the team. Unsure about where her future lied with the team, Hope questioned whether or not to continue to play soccer professionally. Determined to live her life without regrets, she decided to approach the team with a written apology for offending all those who were affected by her comments.
The coach of the national team was replaced and the new coach Pia Sundhage named Hope to be the starting goalkeeper for the 2008 Olympics in China where the team finally earned the gold their hearts were set on. After the team’s success during the Olympics, the Women’s Professional Soccer league took the place of the WUSA as a league of professional female soccer players. As a perk of being a part of the WNT, Hope and her teammates were given the opportunity to choose three cities they wanted to play for in the league; Solo only choice was the St. Louis Athletica. Unfortunately in 2010, the St. Louis team folded and Hope was added to the Atlanta Beat roster. In September of that year, Solo underwent extensive and possibly career ending shoulder surgery.
In efforts to regain her starting position on the national team in time for the 2011 Women’s World Cup, Hope took nine months off and began an extensive physical therapy regiment that often took six hours a day to complete. Prior to the opening game, Solo signed on for another season with the WPS team the MagicJack. At the beginning of 2011, Hope learned that her hard work and commitment to physical therapy paid off as she was once again named the starting goalkeeper for the upcoming World Cup. After two rounds of overtime, the tournament’s emotional semi final game between US and Brazil was to be determined by a penalty kick shootout. At which time, Hope was able to block a shot that lead to the team’s victory. Solo and her teammates quickly became household names as they captivated the nation’s attention. Solo’s successful stint in the World Cup gave her an achievement she set her sights on at an early age. Hope was honored with The Golden Glove, best overall goalkeeper, in the 2011 World Cup. Though the team’s legendary triumph over Brazil gained a lot of support for the USWNT, they were unable to obtain a victory of Japan in yet another intense penalty shootout game.
Determined not to get too discouraged about their loss, Solo and the rest of the national team began promoting women’s professional soccer around the country. Hope continues to make appearances to support her position in women’s professional soccer. Most recently, Hope agreed to participate in the thirteenth season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Though Hope is using her new-found “celebrity” status to shine light on women’s soccer, she remains the starting goalkeeper for the national team. Her unyielding dedication, pride, and self-confidence are all reasons why she is worthy of her iconic status.