Hope Solo has opened up about her recent suspension from the U.S. national team, saying the 30-day exile gave her time to "reassess" her life and career.
The reflection came Wednesday in Solo’s new blog, which she described as a place to "process and share" her experiences with fans.
"During my month away from the national team, I had a lot of time to think, and to reassess my life and career," Solo wrote. "I also learned a lot about myself."
U.S. Soccer suspended Solo for 30 days after her husband, former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens, was arrested Jan. 21 on a DUI charge in Manhattan Beach while driving a federation van. Solo, who had been taking part in a national team camp in Southern California, was reportedly belligerent toward the officers.
The incident came one week after a domestic violence case against Solo was dismissed. She had been accused of assaulting her nephew and half-sister in June. Before leaving camp to begin serving the suspension, Solo says she addressed her teammates.
"For the first time, I’d opened up to my teammates about everything I’d been going through," Solo wrote. "I talked about how hard it had been going through the court case with my family, and explained why I hadn’t been that approachable at camp. I’d been trying to focus while I was on the field, but I’d been a mess emotionally and mentally, and spent most nights crying with my roommate away from the team.
"After I was done speaking with everyone, one of my teammates gave me the biggest hug and said, ‘Hope, apology accepted.’ That meant so much. And that was kind of the whole sentiment of the team in Los Angeles. Over the days that followed, I received so many encouraging emails from my teammates — it made me realize how important it was for me to be more open with them."
Solo sat out a pair of friendlies during her suspension: a 2-0 loss to France and 1-0 win against England. U.S. Soccer reinstated Solo ahead of this month’s Algarve Cup in Portugal, which the U.S. won. Solo started all four games in the tournament, stopping a penalty kick in the final as the Americans sealed a 2-0 win over France.
"A few days before heading to Portugal, I’d sent an e-mail to all of my teammates," Solo wrote. "I let them know what I had been doing in the time I’d been away. I told them that for the first time in my life, I’d been seeing a therapist and dealing with a lot of my issues, and finally addressing all the pain and anger that was inside of me.
"I wanted them to know that I hadn’t just taken 30 days off. Ultimately, I wanted to be a better person and teammate, and that’s what I’d been focused on."
Solo is currently with the U.S. team ahead of a friendly April 4 against New Zealand in St. Louis.
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