U.S. soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo, who helped her team win a gold medal at the London Olympics, writes candidly about her struggles and much-publicized incidents in her career -- including being benched for the semifinals of the 2007 World Cup -- in a new book titled "SOLO: A Memoir of Hope," which is due out Tuesday.
As part of the book's release, Solo also authored an epilogue from the 2012 Olympics, which will be available as part of the e-book. In it, she writes about how U.S. coach Pia Sundhage asked her to delay publication of the book, threatening to not play her in the Olympics if it came out prior to the Games.
Solo, who was born in 1981 after her mother became pregnant during a conjugal visit with Solo's father in prison, writes about what she calls years of her "erratic, self-destructive behavior," about the death of her father two months before the 2007 World Cup and, most pointedly, about her subsequent benching by U.S. coach Greg Ryan before the 2007 World Cup match against Brazil, and the way she felt her teammates and coaches treated her in the aftermath.
Solo details the entire sequence of events at the World Cup, which was held in China, including the fact that she played her matches only after spreading a tiny bit of her father's ashes on the field (she brought them out in her goalie gloves). The U.S. tied its first game 2-2 with North Korea, then won its next three, all shutouts. Solo, however, was replaced by Brianna Scurry for the semifinal game against Brazil, which the Americans lost 4-0.
Some of Solo's sharpest criticisms are about Ryan, who she says decided to bench her against Brazil after consulting with team veterans, including Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach. She writes that during a meeting with Ryan, he pushed her back onto a couch as she tried to leave.
She details the next 72 hours, how she confronted Lilly and Wambach, among others, and explains the background that led to her famous postgame quote after the Brazil loss, where she said: "It was the wrong decision. And I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. And the fact of the matter is, it's not 2004 anymore. It's not 2004. It's 2007, and I think you have to live in the present."
Solo chronicles the rest of her time in China, plus what happened when she returned home and the American team went on a celebration tour that was anything but celebratory.
Sprinkled throughout the book are Solo's feelings about the 1999 U.S. team, which won the World Cup and was regarded as the foremost American women's soccer team in history. Solo details the long shadow that team cast, and the split she felt between players from that era and her own, some of which she believed fueled her benching in China.
Some of that animosity showed at the 2012 Olympics, where Solo criticized Brandi Chastain, a member of the 1999 team who was doing color commentary for NBC. Solo called out Chastain on Twitter for not supporting the American team enough, and for being too negative.
But Solo came up big, especially in the Olympic final, where she had several remarkable saves. Wambach, whom Solo confronted five years earlier at the World Cup in China, said: "You can't go without saying that Hope saved the day. Literally. Five times."
Also in the book, Solo chronicles the 2011 World Cup, where the Americans finished second to Japan, as well as a photo shoot in ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue," her appearance on "Dancing With The Stars" and her preparations for the 2012 Olympics, which ended last week with a 2-1 win over Japan for Solo's second Olympic gold medal.
"We felt like a team," Solo said after the Olympic final. "Everybody felt like they could contribute. Everybody. ... Honestly, it's the first time in my athletic career that I felt like it was a true team."