The U.S. women's national team's kicked off its 2019 World Cup campaign on Tuesday in Reims, France against Thailand. Before the reigning champs stepped on the field, USWNT coach Jill Eliis was asked about former star goalkeeper Hope Solo's strong criticism toward Ellis. Solo, who is now retired and is serving as a pundit on British television, had some strong words for Ellis, saying she is "."
"She relies heavily on her assistant coaches. She cracks under the pressure quite a bit," Solo said on a BBC podcast. "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."
On Monday, a day before the fuboTV (Try for free) -- in their World Cup opener, Ellis responded.--
"I mean, comments are comments," Ellis said, according to SI and the Associated Press. "For me, personally, I feel over the past five years I've made a lot of important decisions and I have processes to make those decisions, and I own those processes. At this point, everything and every focus is about this group of players that are here and now. Pundits, out there, that's part of it. And part of the message is always to make sure that the focus is on the internal part of the game. And that's where we are."
Ellis and Solo have had a rocky relationship stemming from disciplinary issues, including Solo called Sweden "a bunch of cowards" after the 2016 Olympics, which led to her contract with the federation being terminated, and she hasn't represented the team since. Ellis decided to take the high road when asked about Solo in a press conference.
It's not surprising to see Eliss taking the high road and keeping her composure when asked about Solo in the prematch press conference. Solo has long been a controversial figure who has never been shy with her comments, and Ellis could have fired back and showed a lack of composure but decided against it, which is the right choice. At worst, if gives Ellis the extra motivation to guide the U.S. to a second World Cup crown, her first without Solo, where her actions would speak much louder than her words.
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