In a Twitter discussion with The American Outlaws, a fan group that supports America’s national soccer teams, goalkeeper and World Cup Champion Hope Solo stated yesterday that the US will never advance its soccer culture if people continue to see the game as “a rich, white kid sport.” The American Outlaws were hosting the discussion because Solo, who has a contentious relationship with the organization, is running for President of the United States Soccer Federation, which is the governing body in control of not just national teams but development programs.
Long an outspoken critic of the American soccer establishment, Solo believes that not enough has been done to bring various organizations together to make sure kids from diverse backgrounds are being coached by people who know what they’re doing. For Solo, the crux of creating a winning system is equal access to the game. During her interview, Solo insisted that the US will “continue to lose good players” if more coaches don’t start reaching out to kids in minority communities. She explained that there are only about 3,000 A-licensed (the highest non-professional level) soccer coaches in America before calling the phenomena “absurd.” Solo cited cost as a huge deterrent. Currently, the cost of acquiring an A-level coaching license for soccer is around $6,200-$8,000.
“If people continue to think it’s only a rich, white kid sport we’re only going to continue to lose good players.” – Solo says more needs to be done to reach out and engage minority communities by local coaches.
— The American Outlaws (@AmericanOutlaws) January 17, 2018
Solo’s frustration with a lack of access to the soccer is paralleled by her observations of the monetary inequality that exists even within the better funded and more popular upper echelon of the sport. And it’s not the first time she’s taken a dip in these waters. After making disparaging remarks about her Swedish opponents in the gold medal match of the 2016 Rio Olympics, Solo was suspended from the national team. While US Soccer insists that the suspension wasn’t personal and was totally related to the comments towards the Swedish national team and “past incidents,” Solo insists that it was because she “was asking questions US Soccer did not want to answer.” Those questions were, most likely, about the wage gap between the men’s team, which didn’t make the upcoming World Cup, and the women’s team, which won the last one.