Hope Solo has announced that her indefinite leave from the Seattle Reign has become a season-ending move.
She won’t return to the Reign in 2016; meanwhile her backup, Haley Kopmeyer, will permanently take over as the Reign’s starting keeper after already serving quite ably while Solo was gone earlier in the season.
“While disappointed that Hope will not return to Reign FC this season, we understand and respect her decision,” said Reign FC head coach and GM Laura Harvey via a team press release.
Solo is currently part of a documentary by Fullscreen; in previous episodes she mentioned wanting to move to North Carolina, partly due to her notoriety in Seattle leading to intrusions on her privacy. Such a move, combined with her terminated contract by US Soccer, seems to spell the end of her career.
Perhaps Solo will return to the Reign in 2017 as a non-allocated player, signing a contract to be paid by the team instead of the federation. Perhaps she won’t. It’s all but assured that her international career is at an end, and it’s very hard to see that she’ll play even one last farewell game after how contentiously the termination went down. That would be the ultimate salt in the wound, if US Soccer were to sell out Hope Solo’s farewell game and earn one last chunk of money off of her name before she retires at their prodding.
Well, Solo does have a court case pending, as the original dismissal of her domestic violence case was overturned and will go back to trial.
She may decide to simply lay low in North Carolina, living a quiet life. She may eventually look into coaching or joining the Reign staff in some capacity. She may decide she doesn’t like how USSF wrote her ending and go back to the Reign for one more season. There’s always the public speaking circuit.
But this is the end of the Hope Solo era. For the WNT, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it finally allows a new cycle of GK development to start in earnest. For fans, it probably means a drop in the average tempestuousness of WNT news and a definite increase in hot takes over the next week or so. For Solo, who knows. After so long seeing one face in goal, it’s going to be a strange and interesting time for WNT fans.