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Solo in ‘happier place’ now ahead of World Cup

Hope Solo is back with the U.S. and feeling confident. (Photo copyright Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

Hope Solo is back with the U.S. and feeling confident. (Photo copyright Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

Hope Solo says she is in “a happier place” following her return to the U.S. women’s national team after a 30-day suspension.

“I feel better, I feel a little bit lighter, like a weight’s been taken off my shoulders,” Solo told reporters ahead of Saturday’s match against New Zealand at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo.

“I feel just in a happier place, a bit more relaxed with my defenders, which is more fun for them to play with me when I’m not on edge.”

Solo was suspended in January for a training camp incident involving her husband, ex-NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens, who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in a U.S. Soccer team vehicle. Solo was in the passenger seat.

[MORE: USWNT faces New Zealand on Saturday in World Cup test]

Solo recently revealed that she began seeing a therapist and an Eastern medicine healer, both of whom are helping her address her emotions. Solo returned to the team in March, playing all four matches in route to winning the Algarve Cup.

“I think Hope has come back with her eyes wide open and with her heart full of passion and excitement for the game, for competing in another World Cup,” U.S. forward Abby Wambach said. “We’re all human beings, we all have things that are going on in our personal lives, myself included.

“I think what people don’t understand is that when Hope steps on the pitch and does her part, does her job, that’s the important thing.”

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