Solo's polarizing persona is what makes her so crucial to the new league's fortunes. The last professional women's soccer league in the U.S., the Women's United Soccer Association, lasted only three seasons -- largely because it lacked edge. "The WUSA sort of had a focus on preteen, ponytailed girls who aspired to play soccer someday, and so their messaging was around 'cause marketing': 'This league is something girls deserve to have, and as a fan you ought to support this,'" says Tonya Antonucci, a former Yahoo executive and the new league's commissioner. "We're presenting an environment that's not about babysitting kids but is an opportunity to watch the best and be entertained by the best."At the 2007 World Cup, Solo was benched from a semifinal game against Brazil. Afterward she told a reporter that if she'd been in goal the U.S. would not have lost 4-0. She was subsequently banned from the rest of the tournament and the plane ride home.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.