Hope Solo Is A Different Kind Of Loser

Note from the editor: This story originally ran in 2016 following the loss of the USWNT to Sweden in the Olympic Games. We've reposted it today in the lead up to the group stage rematch at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Most athletes don’t live up to the standard of “role model” - for that matter, most teachers, parents, politicians and doctors don’t either.  Athletes are simply paid more attention due to the public nature of their jobs.  “Role model” is a title bestowed on an impressive and select group.  “Role model” is rarified air – it's a term reserved for people that live with positivity, compassion, connectivity, vision, courage, decency, empathy, intelligence, strength, work-ethic, clarity of purpose and love.

A disclosure related to the remainder of this article: I don’t know Hope Solo, haven’t met Hope Solo and have only my observations of her actions and communications that are readily available to the public.  I also think it must be extremely difficult to live life with much of the world often watching and listening.  Lastly, I believe we humans are all flawed in different ways and to different degrees.  

Now, back to a perspective on what transpired after Team USA’s stunning loss to Sweden.

Hope Solo and the term “role model” should never be used in the same sentence.  Oops.  In fact, Hope is a different kind of loser.  She’s a winner – and great player – in a game called soccer, while at the exact time being someone who will never “get it” — her connection to reality appears strained at best.  


Hope is one of the many that goes through life lacking true connection with the world around her.  She doesn’t seem to truly grasp the beauty of the journey, or, in this case, the fact that losing doesn’t always have to be accompanied by blame and bitterness.

Hope Solo

Hope Solo employing the 'dark arts' during the penalty shootout. Photo: @BBCSport | Twitter

She and her teammates lost a soccer match yesterday that they were expected to win.  This would be very tough to handle for anyone.  She reacted very poorly.  Sport distills life to its essence, bare for everyone to see – the work, the joy, the struggle, the pain, the success and failure, the camaraderie, the loneliness, the focus, the satisfaction, the truth; the perspective it provides to embrace the journey without knowing the outcome.

Hope Solo lost a soccer match and called the winning team cowards, disrespecting the commitment and struggle to arrive at that point in the first place, and displaying an utter lack of respect for her opponent and her sport.  As in life, you can’t win ‘em all, Hope.  Often times, difficult circumstances provide an understanding of the condition of the human.  

In considering the bigger picture, sympathy for Hope is in order.  Not because she and her teammates lost a very important soccer match that they worked ridiculously hard for, but because Hope – on full display on the world stage – exemplifies those that go through life missing the awe inspiring possibilities of the journey.  Hope Solo is a different kind of loser.

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