The U.S. women’s national team is looking forward to moving on from the drama surrounding Hope Solo, however unlikely it is that the microscope will go away.
“Excited to move on and win the World Cup,” U.S. forward Abby Wambach told the Associated Press. “We need all of our parts, and we are less of a team when she’s not in.”
Solo was officially reinstated to the team on Saturday following a 30-day suspension for an incident at training camp in January. Solo was the passenger in a U.S. Soccer van driven by her husband, ex-NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens, when the car was pulled over and Stevens was arrested on the suspicion of driving under the influence.
After what U.S. Soccer called a “formal review,” Solo will rejoin the team for the Algarve Cup, which starts on March 4.
Speaking in Florida ahead of serving as honorary starters for Sunday’s Daytona 500, Wambach, Kelley O’Hara and Christie Rampone said the U.S. women are focused despite the headlines.
“We’re very good at compartmentalizing things,” O’Hara said. “I feel like the media makes a big deal about things that happen outside of the team or even directly within the team. It doesn’t really faze us. That’s one of our team strengths. We’re able to stay focused on the goal, which means you wake up every day and go to practice and get ready for June.”
The incident involving Solo at training camp happened one week after she had two charges of domestic violence against her dropped by a Kirkland, Wash., court.
U.S. captain Rampone, who will rejoin the squad in Portugal after missing the first two matches of the year with a back injury, said the team “can’t let anything distract us.” Wambach also said she is unfazed.
“You get to choose what you put your focus and attention on,” Wambach said. “As veterans, we’ve experienced the best of the best and the worst of the worst. We’re so good at being able to focus all of our attention on one thing, and right now, it’s winning the World Cup.”
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