Report: Assault charges against Hope Solo to be dropped

Eric Adelson
Columnist

After four years, the legal cloud hanging over Hope Solo is gone.

According to news reports in the Seattle area and a source close to Solo, the city of Kirkland, Washington, has decided to drop all charges of domestic violence against the former U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper. Attorneys for the city say witnesses no longer want to be involved in a trial.

It was June 2014 when an incident at the home of Solo’s half-sister led to charges of fourth-degree domestic violence against her. At that time, Solo was 32 and at the peak of her career, having just tied Brianna Scurry for the most shutouts in national team history with 71. Although she would go on to win a World Cup with the American side the following year, the shadow of the charges would remain.

The charges were dropped once before, early in 2015, but a series of appeals followed, and the discussion of the case raged throughout that World Cup season. Coverage of the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson cases in the NFL led to a national discussion of domestic violence in sports, and the decision by the NWSL and U.S. Soccer to allow her to keep playing led to heavy criticism. At one point, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut wrote a letter to then-U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati to chastise him for his choice.

Solo performed well throughout the 2015 tournament, but she did not speak with the press. She maintained her innocence from her initial not guilty plea in 2014, insisting she was defending herself from her nephew’s attack. Meanwhile, Solo saw a therapist for the first time in her life because, in her own words, “I wanted to be a better person and teammate,” she said. She took the lead in the team’s fight for equal pay, becoming a leader in that cause beyond her sport.

There was yet another controversy ahead, however, as comments during the 2016 Olympics about the Swedish team being a “bunch of cowards” brought about her dismissal from the national team.

This year, Solo pursued a candidacy for U.S. Soccer president and impressed many in the soccer community with her preparation, her passion and her knowledge about the issues facing the game at the grassroots level. At the presidential debate in Philadelphia, more than a few in the crowd found her to be compelling and charismatic, even though there wasn’t a widespread belief she could win.

Finally this week, reports emerged that she would be innocent of all charges dating back to four years ago.

In January, Solo was asked about the lingering case and her reaction to it. “I’ve been accountable,” she said. “People don’t even know what happened [with the domestic assault allegations]. I haven’t been at the liberty to say everything because of the legal situation. One day I will be able to speak. It’s definitely not now. It hurts me every time I see inaccuracies. But people cannot sit there and say I haven’t taken responsibility.”

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