Goalkeeper Hope Solo was suspended Wednesday for six months by US Soccer for making disparaging comments about Sweden following the Americans' early departure from the Rio Olympics. Solo called the Swedes "a bunch of cowards" for focusing on defense rather than attacking the three-time defending champion US team, the AP reports. Sweden ousted the US 4-3 on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw in a quarterfinal match. US Soccer President Sunil Gulati says Solo's comments were "unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players."
The 35-year-old Solo, who was previously suspended for 30 days early in 2015 for her conduct, will not be eligible for selection to the national team until February. USA Today reports the team has announced two scheduled games, against Thailand and the Netherlands, for September; she's still free to play in the National Women's Soccer League. Gulati says that "past incidents" and "private conversations" with Solo were considered in doling out the punishment. The head of the players' union came down hard, telling Sports Illustrated the suspension is "a violation of Ms. Solo's First Amendment rights ... We also question whether this action would have ever been taken against a male player or coach, who ... questioned the tactics of the opposing team." (Read more Hope Solo stories.)