Hope Solo has always presented herself as a fierce, bold, confident, passionate, and driven individual. As someone who has been watching her for years constantly pushing herself to be the best in everything she does, I was less than thrilled when it was first confirmed that Hope Solo would be a contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
I didn’t want to see one of the toughest women in sports prancing around in tight dresses and high heels. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying she shouldn’t be in touch with her feminine side, but to me, the only place she belonged was on the pitch (meaning soccer field, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the sport). I also didn’t want to see her putting her body through anything that she didn’t need to be putting it through.
I may be coming off as a concerned parent, but in case you weren’t aware, she was living off of cortisone shots for her rehabilitating shoulder throughout the World Cup this past summer. With the Olympic qualifying games coming up in January, I would have preferred for her to sit back and rest up so that she’s 100% ready.
I got over the announcement slowly but surely. After listening to some of her reasons for doing the show, it became evident to me that she was doing this because she had to. She had to do it for women’s soccer. During the 1999 Women’s World Cup, the United States Women’s National Team captivated the nation by winning the largest tournament on the world’s greatest stage.
However, unlike the 1999 United States Women’s Nation Team, this year’s team did not come in first. Not in the tournament, anyway. But what they did do builds on that same momentum. In particular, what Hope Solo is doing now goes above and beyond what she’s been able to do solely as an athlete in cleats.
Although there is a risk of injury, Dancing with the Stars is a great way to spread the word about women’s soccer and that’s what Hope Solo has set out to do. She has said on many occasions that it’s the only reason why she’s on the show in the first place. After Hope’s debut performance tonight, she even managed to slip in a shout-out to her teammates who are busy preparing for their friendly game against the Canadian Women’s National Team in Portland on September 22nd.
At the end of the day, especially after the World Cup, the world wanted to see more of Hope Solo. We asked, and she delivered. Maybe not in the way some of us had hoped, but in a way that will do a great benefit to not only women’s soccer, but to the world of women’s sports.
So on behalf of a former never-gone-professional-female-goalkeeper, I thank you.