KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City is playing host this week to the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team as it trains for a Women’s World Cup qualifying match.
USWNT Goalkeeper Hope Solo is at the center of a storm involving accusations of domestic violence.
Members of the team are downplaying any controversy involving Solo, even after a former teammate spoke out against her.
In a story published on Tuesday by USA Today, former teammate Jill Loyden says USA Soccer is being irresponsible by allowing Solo to play while she faces two charges of domestic abuse.
Solo was charged in Washington state in June, accused of physically abusing her nephew and half-sister. Solo is considered the best goalkepeer in the game, and she trained with her teammates at Swope Park on Tuesday morning.
Loyden says she lived through domestic abuse. She says women’s soccer cannot turn a blind eye to the issue. U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Jill Ellis issued her support for Solo.
“We understand there’s scrutiny,” Ellis said. “It’s a very sensitive topic, but we’ve committed to having Hope in here, and letting the legal process unfold.”
The sports world has witnessed a recent wave of domestic violence cases — in addition to Solo, recent headlines have included spousal abuse charges against suspended former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, and child abuse charges against Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson.
U.S. midfielder Lauren Holiday also plays for FC Kansas City, and says the team is focusing on its work on the field.
“I think that obviously we’re a team and we’re going to stick together, and we’ll keep going for this World Cup and that’s where we’re at right now,” Holiday said.
Solo didn’t answer questions from reporters in attendance on Tuesday. She will answer to those abuse charges on next month in a Seattle-area courtroom.
The US Women’s National Team meets Trinidad and Tobago next Wednesday night at Sporting Park.