Hope Solo has never been one to keep her thoughts to herself, and that was evident again Saturday when she had some strong words for U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis. Solo, who won the World Cup in 2015 with Ellis as coach, saw her contract terminated with the national team in 2016 after initially calling Sweden "cowards" after being eliminated from the 2016 Olympics.
Speaking to the BBC, she said Ellis "cracks under the pressure."
"Jill is not the leader I wish her to be," Solo said. "She relies heavily on her assistant coaches. She cracks under the pressure quite a bit. But often that doesn't matter because the quality of the players on the U.S. team is superb. It doesn't matter who is coaching us because we will find a way to win. The United States knows how to find a way to win in spite of who the coach is."
That certainly sounds quite unfair. Ellis did guide the U.S. to World Cup glory just four years ago, and despite the struggles at the Olympics, she also was named 2015 FIFA World Women's Coach of the Year. It's fair to say that the U.S. has so much talent, and it's true that the talent is usually much more than that of the opponent, but there are still tactical changes, management tasks that need to be taken care of. Other ex-players haven't been critical of Ellis, and this feels like a one-off occasion where a former player, no longer relevant to the sport in the capacity we've been used to, fires off once more.
The U.S. faces Thailand on Tuesday in their 2019 World Cup opener. At worst, Ellis sees the comments and it makes her even that more determined to prove Solo and other doubters wrong.
You can watch USA-Thailand on fuboTV (Try for free).