Solo: Zika outbreak could keep me from Olympics
The outbreak of the virus in Brazil is causing hesitation on behalf of U.S. women's soccer players.
By Grant Wahl

“If I had to make the choice today, I wouldn’t go [to the Olympics],” U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo told SI.com on Monday from Texas, where the U.S. women’s national team opens its Olympic qualifying tournament on Wednesday against Costa Rica (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC Live Extra).

“I would never take the risk of having an unhealthy child,” said Solo, 34. “I don’t know when that day will come for Jerramy and me, but I personally reserve my right to have a healthy baby. No athlete competing in Rio should be faced with this dilemma. Female professional athletes already face many different considerations and have to make choices that male professional athletes don’t.

“We accept these particular choices as part of being a woman, but I do not accept being forced into making the decision between competing for my country and sacrificing the potential health of a child, or staying home and giving up my dreams and goals as an athlete. Competing in the Olympics should be a safe environment for every athlete, male and female alike. Female athletes should not be forced to make a decision that could sacrifice the health of a child.”

Another U.S. women’s soccer player said she was taking a wait-and-see approach on Zika virus and the Olympics.

“The Zika virus is definitely a concern to me,” the player said. “I’m obviously keeping an eye on what’s going on in the news. I do know that it’s spreading and they don’t really have a vaccination to treat it, so it’s definitely worrisome.”

“But at the end of the day I think there are a lot of things that come up pre-Olympics that are somewhat concerns, and this is kind of a bigger concern than it was with Beijing and smog and London with potential terrorist attacks. But the place we’re at right now with Olympic qualifying, we’re pretty much focused on that right now, and we’ll track it to see what’s happening. We may be playing in Manaus, which is probably loaded with mosquitoes. But I’m sure our doctors will inform us and keep us in the loop as to what’s going on.”

does it ever just blow your mind that Mal Pugh is a 17 year old senior in high school & is playing in a US Women’s Soccer International Friendly + led the U-20 national team to win the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship Title?? like this teenager has accomplished more in her high school years than I ever will in my entire life, it’s breathtakingly amazing

Sauerbrunn, Johnston, Brian out for US on Saturday

The U.S. women’s national team will be without defenders Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Johnston as well as midfielder Morgan Brian due to injury on Saturday for the team’s firsts match of 2016, against Ireland in San Diego, Calif.

Sauerbrunn and Johnston are both back to full training, per a U.S. Soccer representative. Sauerbrunn has been dealing with a knee injury in camp and Johnston had a groin issue, but both are being held out of Saturday’s games as precautionary measures. They are expected to be ready for Olympic qualifying, which begins on Feb. 10.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis is short on center backs with Sauerbrunn and Johnston out Saturday. Christie Rampone is also out several weeks after having knee surgery in December. That leaves Whitney Engen and recent No. 1 overall NWSL Draft pick Emily Sonnett as the lone remaining center backs on the roster for Saturday. Sonnett and Engen look like likely starters for Saturday, but don’t be surprised if fullback Ali Krieger gets a look as a center back at some point on Saturday against a relatively weak Ireland team. With the U.S. light on numbers at center back, Krieger has spent some time training in the position during this January camp.

Withholding clear starters Sauerbrunn and Johnston from the lineup will allow U.S. coach Jill Ellis to get an extensive look at Sonnett and Engen, a pair of center backs who have seen limited game action who, along with Rampone, are likely fighting for one spot on the 18-player Olympic roster.

Sauerbrunn was recently appointed co-captain of the U.S. women along with midfielder Carli Lloyd, who was recently named the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year. Both Sauerbrunn and Lloyd were essential to the United States’ 2015 World Cup triumph.

Saturday’s match is the first of the calendar year for the U.S. women, who ended their 2015 campaign with a shocking but, as Abby Wambach called it, fitting loss to China at the Superdome in New Orleans, La. The loss snapped a 104-game, 11-year home unbeaten streak for the United States.

So the U.S. women start anew on Saturday, beginning another challenging calendar year in which they are faced with building for the future while competing in the present. It’s hardly a groundbreaking concept, but it is one of particular scrutiny for the No. 1 team in the world, fresh off a World Cup title.

Winning a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal in 2016 is the goal. The Americans will likely be favorites heading into the tournament, a competition whose setup — six games in 16 days for the finalists with only an 18-player roster — lends to the United States’ strengths in depth and fitness.

Ireland should serve as a soft warm-up, with the U.S. having won all 11 matchups by a combined score of 40-1, including a 3-0 victory last May ahead of the World Cup.

Olympic qualifying begins in Frisco, Texas on Feb. 10 with group games against Puerto Rico, Mexico and Costa Rica. The top two teams from the group advance to the semifinals, where winners of those semifinals will book tickets to the Olympics. The U.S. and Canada are heavy favorites for the two Olympic berths.


Is there any sort of competition between the women on the U.S. National Team in terms of who’s the best dressed or who has the best style? 

Alex Morgan: A lot of us on the team have very similar styles. But some girls like to layer more, some girls like to wear more jewelry or dress up with their shoes, whatever it may be. I think we all kind of feed off each other a little bit. We all have our own individual styles and I think that’s really cool. We’re able to be like, “Oh, where did you get that from? I want to get that.” Or see how your style is based on your teammates’ style.

Hmmm..this might be the explanation why we see so many of the gals wearing the same clothes.


My sister was able to get us really good seats for the U.S. Women’s National Team game yesterday when they played the Republic of Ireland in San Diego.

We were on the lower field in the 4th row, seated on the aisle to the side of the goal. It was awesome to be that close to the field & nab some awesome picks of Tobin Heath doing some great corner kicks!

U.S. Soccer and USWNT head to court
This could get messy
By RJ Allen

U.S. Soccer is suing the union representing the United States Women’s National Team.

U.S. Soccer is seeking a judgement from the courts to see clarify if a current collective bargaining agreement governing the USWNT is still in effect.

Although the CBA expired in 2012, U.S. Soccer claims a continuance of said CBA was ratified in 2013 before the launch of the National Women’s Soccer League. Said CBA, which covers the period through the calendar year of 2016, according to reports on the lawsuit includes a no-strike clause.

This is not the first time that the USWNT and U.S. Soccer have clashed in the past year. In December of 2015 the USWNT refused to play a game against Trinidad and Tobago at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii over field conditions starting to show the public not everything was peaceful between the players and their federation.

The timing of the lawsuit is no accident, despite the USWNT partaking in Olympic qualifying in a week.

According to a statement from U.S. Soccer, leadership of the Women’s National Team Players Association informed the federation that they believed contentious no-strike clause was invalid in the coming weeks. Per the statement:

“U.S. Soccer felt it necessary to take this course of action after Richard Nichols, the newly appointed Executive Director of the Women’s National Team Players Association, notified U.S. Soccer that he does not believe there to be a current CBA, a position which would allow the team to take labor actions on and after February 24 - a view inconsistent with the negotiating history and directly contrary to the position of the prior Executive Director who actually negotiated the current agreement.”

If the USWNT were to be operating without a CBA, they could in theory go on strike before, or during, the 2016 Olympics as a negotiating tactic to bargain for a new agreement. This would have an effect on the NWSL as many players are allocated from US Soccer to play in the league.

Kelley O’Hara and Christie Rampone of Sky Blue FC are both allocated players. Meaning their contracts are with U.S. Soccer and not with Sky Blue. If the USWNT is pushed to go on strike their status for the 2016 season during the strike could be up in the air.


Teammembers from the women’s national U.S. Soccer team paid a visit to the NHCH Makalapa SMART clinic on Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam where they met with wounded military members and patients, Dec. 3, 2015.

Lt. Cmdr. Tracy Wirth and Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle, crewmembers from the Coast Guard 14th District had the privilege of escorting the team to the base where Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, Julie Johnston Heather O'Reilly and Alyssa Naeher conducted meet and greets with the servicemembers.

U.S. Soccer Sues Women’s National Team in Federal Court
The lawsuit is a sudden escalation of a labor fight over the team’s collective bargaining agreement with the federation.
By Andrew Das

U.S. Soccer sued the union representing the world champion United States women’s national team in federal court on Wednesday, a sudden escalation of a labor fight over the team’s collective bargaining agreement.

In the lawsuit, U.S. Soccer is seeking to have a court rule that the terms of the agreement — which expired in 2012 but has remained the guiding document over the relationship between the federation and star players like Hope Solo and Alex Morgan — remains valid.

U.S. Soccer said in the filing that it “reluctantly” brought the action against its players, who won the Women’s World Cup in Canada over the summer, after the lawyer for the players threatened to repudiate the agreement. The lawyer, Richard Nichols, told U.S. Soccer that doing so would allow the players to engage in labor actions to force a new agreement, the federation said.

The federation said it sought relief from the court to prevent those actions from disrupting the coming National Women’s Soccer League season and, potentially, the Americans’ participation in this summer’s Rio Olympics.


Alex Morgan: 100 Caps with the U.S. Women’s National Team

As Alex Morgan earns her historic 100th cap on Jan. 23, 2016, against the Republic of Ireland in San Diego, we honor the achievement with a look back on some of her many highlights.

Made another compilation of gifs from Alex’s 100 caps video. This one is all about the goals.

USSF Statement

CHICAGO (Jan. 3, 2016) - Earlier today, U.S. Soccer reluctantly filed a lawsuit in federal court in Chicago to confirm the existence of the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that has been in place since 2013 and is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2016.

U.S. Soccer felt it necessary to take this course of action after Richard Nichols, the newly appointed Executive Director of the Women’s National Team Players Association, notified U.S. Soccer that he does not believe there to be a current CBA, a position which would allow the team to take labor actions on and after February 24 - a view inconsistent with the negotiating history and directly contrary to the position of the prior Executive Director who actually negotiated the current agreement.

We are confident the court will confirm the existence and validity of the current CBA, which has been in effect since U.S. Soccer and the Women’s National Team Players Association reached agreement almost three years ago. During that time, U.S. Soccer has complied with all of its obligations included in the CBA.

While unfortunate, we believe taking this action provides the parties with the most efficient path to a resolution, in an effort to not jeopardize the team’s participation in any competitions this year, including the 2016 Olympic Games. Obtaining a prompt resolution on the validity of the current CBA will allow both parties to focus on continuing negotiations in good faith on the next CBA that would start in 2017.

U.S. Soccer is the recognized world leader for the advancement of women’s soccer and is actively engaged in improving the opportunities for young girls playing soccer across the country. We recognize the tremendous value that the Women’s National Team brings to the game of soccer, and we look forward to continuing our work with the players to address their concerns and continuing to help improve the game in the future.


Alex Morgan: 100 Caps with the U.S. Women’s National Team

Still A Chip On Carli’s Shoulder

Over 23,000 fans took over Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday to cheer on the U.S. Women’s National Team in their first game of 2016. It was chilly by San Diego standards as the USWNT dismantled the Republic of Ireland 5-0 in their only warm-up before the team begins Olympic qualifying next month. 

The day was designed to honor forward Alex Morgan, as she celebrated her 100th cap with the national team. Morgan played with the captain’s band around her arm and was even able to notch international goal number 57 (despite being clearly offsides), making her the second leading scorer on the roster. 

The leading scorer? That would be midfielder Carli Lloyd who had a hat trick within the first 28 minutes of play to bring her to 82 career international goals. Lloyd is coming off a spectacular 2015, which included not only winning the Women’s World Cup, but also picking up the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Award in Zurich only a few weeks ago. 

For those that thought Lloyd might be running on fumes after a whirlwind fall between playing with the team on their Victory Tour and her media obligations, consider yourself fooled. Lloyd looked not only extremely fit, but also didn’t shy away from any rough plays as was evident in the header that tallied her second goal of the match. Lloyd cut her lip open after hard contact with an Irish defender and needed attention from a trainer. Some players might have taken the rest of the game off, but Lloyd was back on the field within minutes of being cleaned up.

Lloyd has always prided herself as being the underdog, as someone always playing in the shadow of other great players on her team. Yet now that she is centerstage, she doesn’t change the way she views her role on the team. She stated as much as she addressed the media after the match when asked about her focus going into this year. 

“People are going to say that I might be complacent, well I am going to prove them wrong. I am not stopping, you know I am on a mission. Yes, have I had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder? Of course. I still do. Because there are still people waiting to see me go backwards and I am not going to let that happen.”

It almost sounds like a player fighting for a roster spot rather than a player that was just honored as the best in the world. 

While Lloyd’s position on the team may not be in jeopardy (especially since she was awarded the honor of co-captain by Coach Jill Ellis only a few weeks ago), her New Jersey grit will keep pushing her until she eventually walks away from the game. 

And if you looked around at all the jerseys worn by fans on Saturday, there were a ton of shirts with ‘Morgan’ on the back. Even with all her heroics over the past few years, Lloyd is still going to struggle to be the most popular name on the team. But that seems to suit Lloyd just fine. 

Please check out our newest podcast featuring Lindsey Horan at wwfshow.com

Until next time!

Sarah Hallett