Tuesday, September 23, 2014

US Soccer president defends Hope Solo playing despite domestic violence charges: Report

U.S. Soccer defended its decision to allow goalkeeper Hope Solo to continue to play for the women's national team while she faces domestic violence charges.

The 33-year-old Solo is charged with two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree domestic violence assault in Washington state stemming from an altercation with her sister-in-law and 17-year-old nephew in June — but is still allowed to compete.

In a statement issued Monday night, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said the federation would stand by its decision to allow due process to take its course before ruling on Solo's national team status.

"From the beginning, we considered the information available and have taken a deliberate and thoughtful approach regarding Hope Solo's status with the National Team," Gulati said. "Based on that information, U.S. Soccer stands by our decision to allow her to participate with the team as the legal process unfolds. If new information becomes available we will carefully consider it."

The statement was issued hours after U.S. Olympic Committee chief executive Scott Blackmun called the allegations against Solo "disturbing and inconsistent with our expectations of Olympians," but he stopped short of saying she should face immediate disciplinary action from the team.

And contrary to a seemingly double-standard which applies for male athletes in the NFL charged with the same crime.

"We have had discussions with U.S. Soccer and fully expect them to take action if it is determined that the allegations are true," Blackmun told USA Today Sports in an email. "Abuse in all forms is unacceptable."

Solo, who has been with the national team since 2000 and recently set the team record for the most shutouts last week, continues to play for the United States in meaningless exhibition matches and with her National Women's Soccer League team, the Seattle Reign, following her arrest.

Gulati said Monday the organization will let her play until the legal matter is settled.

Solo has pleaded not guilty and the case is scheduled for trial on November 4. She faces up to six months in jail if convicted.

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