Hope Solo - Greg Ryan Dispute

Submitted by Everyone Murders on August 16th, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Today we saw reports that Greg Ryan shoved Hope Solo during an in-office discussion as to why she was benched for the 2007 World Cup semifinals.  (Ryan is currently coaching women's soccer at Michigan.)  The allegations appear in Solo's new book "A Memoir of Hope".

Links are here (AP Wire, via MLive) http://www.mlive.com/soccer/index.ssf/2012/08/ex-coach_says_he_didnt_shove_hope_solo_at_world_cup.html and here (AP via WashPost) http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/dcunited/former-us-womens-soccer-team-coach-says-he-didnt-shove-solo-during-meeting-at-2007-world-cup/2012/08/15/0ad2e760-e738-11e1-9739-eef99c5fb285_story.html .

According to Solo:

Solo writes that near the end of the meeting: “I had nothing left to say so I stood up to leave. Greg leaned over and pushed me back down on the couch. Hard.” Solo writes that Ryan then swore at her and told her she couldn’t leave until he said she could.

Recognizing that shoving a player is not cool (although it seems a bit of a double standard - nobody would blink if this happened between a couple of men, IMO), my sense is Solo ends up looking bad both by virtue of her own telling of the story and by her urge to relay the story in the book. 

First, it's extremely disrespectful to walk out on a coach before they're done talking to you.  It's absolute insubordination, and while touching a player ain't cool, I've no problem with telling the player in question to get their ass back in their seat until the coach is done talking.  Shoving (if it happened) is not cool.  Not allowing a sullen player to determine when a coach-player meeting is over is coaching.  It seems like Solo had some growing up to do, and the players seemed (from the stories linked above) to have Ryan's back on the decision.

Second, telling this story five years after the fact seems petty.  It seems like a revenge move, and if all's that at stake was pushing someone back onto a couch until you're done talking to them it seems like the sort of thing you might let go of.  Solo sure wouldn't have liked a meeting with Bo.  

Third, Ryan disputes the accusation - he vehemently denies Solo's story.  Given Solo's apparent petulant nature, it tips my scale toward dismissing Solo's story as a bunch of sour grapes.  It's a classic he-said, she-said, but Solo comes out looking bad here.   Even if a coach pushed you, it was five years ago and dredging it up now seems uncool. 

In any event, I'm hoping that this does not negatively impact Ryan in his position as U-M's Women's Soccer coach. 



turd ferguson

August 16th, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

I don't think this harms Ryan.  If anything, it raises his profile a bit.  I'm sure that anyone thinking about committing to play soccer for Greg Ryan is more than familiar with Solo's reputation.


August 16th, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

Hard to say since I wasn't there but.... I strongly agree with your assessment of it as merely sour grapes. Solo's comments towards Chastain during the Olympics demonstrate clearly to me that she likes her grapes sour. If she feels the need to lash out publicly at an announcer for being mildly critical of her play, I can only imagine what her reaction would be to her own coach benching her. But again, I only speculate.


August 16th, 2012 at 1:43 PM ^

I think this is the appropriate place that one should insert the How I Met Your Mother Hot/Crazy index for Hope Solo.  Unfortunatley I no understand the interwebs.

Blue in Yarmouth

August 16th, 2012 at 1:58 PM ^

I will say first that I agree with your opinion of what happened here, seems like sour grapes indeed, and even if it wasn't, pushing a player down on the couch isn't a big deal in my eyes if they were trying to walk out of a meeting prematurely.

What I really want to say is how impressed I was with one of your American players at the olympic. I am not a big womens soccer fan, but because Canada was playing pretty well I decided I'd watch a bit. 

In the uildup to the game everyone was talking about Sinclair and Womback so naturally, not following womens soccer those were the two I thought would be the standouts. For Canada they were right, other than Sinclair there really wasn't a decent player on the team. The owrst part was, none were even good looking.

Switch now to the Americans, who at least had a few hot girls on their team. Womback, on the other hand, got out shined by Morgan. Honestly, in all the games I watched she was the most skillful player I saw and was by quite a margin. In a game where Sinclair got a hattrick, Morgan still had a better game IMHE. Seriously, I have never seen a woman with that much skill on a soccer field, she was impressive.


August 16th, 2012 at 3:31 PM ^

First off, it's Wambach, not Womback.

While Morgan had a decent game against Canada, it's absolutely absurd to suggest she had a better game than Sinclair. Sinclair's first goal was incredible and she was a constant threat that the U.S. had to account for. Morgan was basically absent for large chunks of the match. She played much better in the final (her assist on the first goal was brilliant).

I also don't understand where you get off saying that there wasn't another decent player on Canada's roster. Tancredi provided a physical presence that the U.S. had serious trouble dealing with and had assists on 2 of Sinclair's goals. There were plenty of other players who made solid contributions, but she definitely stands out.


August 16th, 2012 at 2:07 PM ^

Although I don't really know much about her, she comes off as cocky, arrogant, and disingenuous. I saw her one time on Dancing with the Stars, and she acted like a brat. Like I said, I don't know her, but she just doesn't seem like someone who I would trust in this type of situation.


August 16th, 2012 at 2:42 PM ^

I'll side with Ryan.  It's my opinion that Solo is a fake, selfish b*tch, the complete opposite of a team player.  I noticed it at the World Cup last year and it's been confirmed with the olympics.  

Starting back in '08 when she criticized her coach for benching her and  made some of her teammates upset by it.

She calls out Brandi Chastain for criticizing one of the US defenders during one of the group stage games.  Keep in mind that Chastain did this as a commentator during the game, she's payed to unbiasedly analyze the soccer game.  Solo calls her out and says she should be supporting the US team, not tearing it down, etc.  First off how do you even know what Chastain said on air, since you were in the game, second why the hell does it matter.

If you've seen any of her interviews you can tell that everything she spews is just pure bs.  Just seems like everything she says is straight up fake and for show, rather than saying stuff that's genuine like Morgan and Wambach.

Edit: Almost forgot.  She also wanted to realease her book before the olympics started, but Pia didn't let her.  Not a good idea to release something that you know will create controversy and a distraction for your team right before a huge tournament, but Solo doesn't give a shit.

Based on everything above I am going to assume that Solo exaggerated a little bit about the incident.



August 16th, 2012 at 2:58 PM ^

elite, talented, rich, young player on a high-profile team that thinks she is smarter than the coach.

Ever hear of anyone like that? Dwight Howard? I think we can list a few dozen more men that have done the same thing.



August 16th, 2012 at 3:03 PM ^

I disagree with most of the comments here.  I don't think it's ever appropriate for a coach to put his hands on a player in such a manner. The fact that he's a guy and she a women makes it worst. Please don't justify his behavior.


August 16th, 2012 at 7:15 PM ^

But what do you expect him to say, "Yep!  I did it!"  

No one will ever know the truth about what happened except Hope Solo and...  forgot his name already.  

And honestly, even they probably don't know the whole truth.  Perception and recollection of events is a tricky thing, it's not always accurate (see the psychological research on the reliability of eyewitness testimony), esp. under emotional circumstances.  

The reality of the situation is probably somewhere between their 2 stories.  

He probably put his hand on her to keep her from leaving the room and because she was so worked up and emotional it felt like a push to her, or that's how she percieved it.

She mouthed off, she shouldn't have.

He probably put hands on her, he shouldn't have.  

Both probably acted inappropriately. 

In the grand scheme of things, though, this is not a big deal.  There are no allegations of abuse or some sort of serious harm being done, and no one will know the truth.  And ultimately all this is just speculation..... No one here actually knows Solo or the coach so saying she's a bitch or he's an "unfriendly" coach (obviously a loaded term) and then using that to make inferences about what happened in a private meeting 5 years ago doesn't yield any insight.  

And so in the end this tread is pointless.  The only person who wins in this is Hope Solo because conversations like this generate a hell of a lot of buzz for her book.

Some people want to castigate her for sharing this story, well, this thread is exhibit A for why she did and why others have done so and will continue to do so.  People will always take the bait, get worked up about something controversial, argue about it, and more books are sold.  

People are suckers for this sort of thing, it's human nature.  Other people will capitzlize on this, it's the way of the world.


August 16th, 2012 at 3:21 PM ^

the best in the world, many brilliant saves of USA's bacon during recent Olympics final. Kinda full of herself,* quite attractive. 

Beyond that, I don't personally feel like we have all the data. I think this probably boosts Ryan a little rather than hurting him. Who knows what went down? If Ryan was being an a**hole, this is a small public lesson--he's hardly going to jail for it. Doesn't seem like the kind of thing you simply invent. 

And this is the kind of tidbit you put in such a book, right? To get people disputing on the internets. 

*Calling out Chastain was childish, but it's worth noting that she did it not for selfish reasons. .  but in defense of a teammate.


August 16th, 2012 at 3:37 PM ^

Hope Solo is a great goalie.  She's also incredibly full of herself, petulant, abrasive, ill-tempered, and pretty much a whiney brat.  So it is pretty hard to know exactly what went down.

Was it the wrong decision to bench her?  Probably.  Did she act like an ass when it happened?  Probably.  Was there some sort of altercation?  Almost for sure. 

Beyond that it is all he said/she said.  Remember, she is trying to sell a book here, so you also have to factor that into things as well.  No conflict = nothing to sell.

I know nothing about the coach.  He could be a complete jerk too.  But Solo does very little in the media to come off as a likable person or indicate that she is very easy to coach.  So who knows exactly what went down?


August 16th, 2012 at 4:21 PM ^

I have not read the book. Clearly context matters here. However, in my personal experience, there are BIG coaches who abuse players verbally and are known to bluster endless disrespect in closed door meetings. I have had coaches say atrocious things to me, including about my parents (who never talked to the coach in my 5 years) where it was clear the coach was just getting off on being nasty. Looking back as an adult now, I realize that behavior should never be tolerated and walking out of a meeting is best in that case. I wish I had done it. If he is emotional enough to put his hands on her, then he is probably not calm enough to be doing any real coaching.

Everyone Murders

August 16th, 2012 at 5:23 PM ^

I appreciate your comment and am sorry you had some atrocious coaching experiences.  I too have been yelled at by coaches, but in most instances I felt the yelling was meant for my own good.  I recall feeling a lot of the yelling was unfair, but I'm hardly objective regarding those memories.  The simple fact is young folks sometimes need to be told to get their heads out of their ass, and those are not always pleasant discussions.  And when you're playing on a national team, you ought to be able to saddle up and not complain about a coach cussing at you.*

As you note, context matters.  But even if it went down exactly as Solo says, it still strikes me as douchey to bring it up five years after the fact.  It just seems like Solo's making a mountain out of a molehill.  And I don't think we can dismiss Ryan's denial of the situation out of hand, especially when we know that Solo's got an ax to grind with him.

And I'm confident that if Ryan had acted as egregiously as your coaches treated you, Solo would not have soft-pedalled it.  Seems like she would have shared every gory detail.  This whole incident makes me think of Solo as the Chico Escuela of the USWNT.

*Regarding the "touching part" - I get that it is not cool.  I said just that twice in the OP and tagged this post "It's Not OK To Touch Someone Against Their Will".  I'm talking here about the line between being yelled at and verbal abuse.  If your coach was debasing your family, they've crossed the line by leaps and bounds.