Depending on who you ask, Hope Solo either retired or was fired from her role as USA goalie. The former USWNT goalkeeper has a complicated history with U.S. soccer, and Alyssa Naeher has the difficult task of following the legendary goalie. Heading into the World Cup, there were questions as to whether Naeher could perform at the highest level, but the goalkeeper has lived up to the challenge.
Naeher made a game-winning save against England as the team attempted a penalty kick that would have tied the match. Alex Morgan admitted after the game that Naeher “saved our ass” with the clutch save. What has become clear is Naeher’s teammates have her back. Backup goalie Ashlyn Harris explained the difficult task Naeher has had in following Solo.
“People are constantly trying to say something negative, or her constantly living in the shadow of Hope Solo,” Harris told Pro Soccer USA. “I’ll tell you what, that’s a damn good goalkeeper in there that doesn’t get enough credit. And she showed up this tournament, time and time again for this team. And I hope it silenced a lot of people. Just because she’s not about all the hype, doesn’t mean she’s not up for the challenge.”
After the USA-England game, Solo wrote for The Guardian that Naeher has gained “more confidence” as the World Cup progressed.
Alyssa Naeher had a great save in the first-half to confirm that no one is going to score against an American goalkeeper from outside the box. American goalkeepers are well trained and historically very strong, an area in which England have struggled down the years. It has been great to see Alyssa gain more confidence as the tournament has gone on.
Hope Solo Is Covering the World Cup as a BBC Analyst
Solo is retired or as she describes “fired” but the goalkeeper has no plans to return to the field. Solo noted that she feels her career is complete, especially after the 2015 World Cup title.
“I will tell you that I am really happy where I am in life, that I fulfilled everything that I wanted to fulfill on the field,” Solo said, per Boston.com. “If I would have retired without a World Cup trophy, I think I never would have been able to settle into my new lifestyle. But luckily we won that 2015 World Cup and I was able to win a couple of Golden Gloves, which was a personal goal of mine, and a couple of gold medals. I hold almost every goalkeeping record. I am not sure there is much more that I could have done.”
Solo is still at the 2019 World Cup, but this time as a media member. The former goalkeeper is part of BBC’s coverage of the tournament. When Solo is not covering soccer, she lives with her husband on their North Carolina farm. Solo ruled out any sort of comeback other than her media responsibilities.
“I think we all know the answer to that question, I am not going to play again,” Solo noted, per Boston.com. “I have not retired because, well, I got fired. You know I hope one day U.S. Soccer will give me the respect that every other player has received, which is a retirement game. And hopefully one day I’ll be able to actually, formally retire and say goodbye to all my wonderful fans.”