In an interview with Espresso, an excerpt of which was posted on Friday, former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo says that she has seen sexual assault with trainers, doctors, and press officers, and even among teammates during her soccer career. She also states that Sepp Blatter touched her inappropriately just before she went on stage at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in January 2013.
“I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass,” Solo said. At the time Blatter was president of FIFA. He is currently serving a six-year suspension from soccer for a series of financial transgressions that came to light in 2015.
Solo went on to add that she has told teammates in the past not to touch her, but that she never saw Blatter again after going on stage and never confronted him about it. A spokesperson for Blatter told Espresso that the accusations are ridiculous.
The 36-year old Solo, who has not played since the 2016 Olympics due to her own suspension and then shoulder surgery, added that she is disappointed with women in the sports world who do not speak out about sexual harassment.
“Yes, everybody has [the right to make] their individual decisions, and it is uncomfortable, but I wish more women, especially in football, would speak against it, about their experiences, because some of those people still work there and some of the players still act in these behaviors. I had some bad experiences with players who are still on the team. I think it is important to acknowledge that this doesn’t just happen with the powerful white men. It can happen all across the board, it can happen between women, it can happen anywhere.”