Carli Lloyd calls out the U.S. women’s national team’s culture in the first episode of “Hope Solo Speaks,” a new podcast hosted by former USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo.
In the episode, which drops Wednesday, Lloyd says her last few years on the team weren’t easy for her personally. The forward retired in November as one of the USWNT’s all-time leaders in caps, goals and assists.
“Even within our squad, the culture has changed,” she said. “It was really tough and challenging to play these last several years. To be quite honest, I hated it. It wasn’t fun going in. It was only for love of the game, really, for me. I wanted to win and wanted to help the team, but the culture within the team was the worst I had ever seen it. So I’m hoping that the future is bright and some things change.”
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Ahead of her retirement, Lloyd spoke often about her 17 years on the national team. She said she had “probably been misunderstood by teammates, coaches, fans, just about everyone,” but she was thankful for “every single one of my teammates.”
“I’m going to miss them dearly,” she said before her USWNT farewell game. “And I’m going to be the biggest fan cheering them on for this next cycle.”
She also talked about her excitement for the future of the team.
“I’m saying goodbye on the field, but I want to continue to help in any way possible. I’m going to be the biggest fan, the biggest cheerleader, and I want to see this team continue to succeed.”
Solo, meanwhile, has a checkered past with the U.S. national team. U.S. Soccer terminated her contract in 2016 due to conduct “counter to the organization’s principles.” At the Rio Olympics that year, Solo called members of the Swedish national team “a bunch of cowards” after the USWNT’s shootout loss in the quarterfinals.
Two years earlier, Solo was arrested and charged on two accounts of misdemeanor assault after getting into an altercation with two family members. In 2015, the federation suspended her after her husband, Jerramy Stevens, was charged with a DUI while driving a U.S. Soccer van with Solo in the passenger’s seat.
On the podcast, Solo said that prior to her termination, every time she had to leave for camp, she “didn’t want to be around the culture of the team.”
“I know when I got fired in 2016, every time I left for camp Jerramy, my husband, hated to see me sad,” Solo said. “I didn’t want to go to the culture of the camp. I didn’t want to go to the social aspect of camp.
“I wanted to work my butt off, I wanted to compete, I wanted to play games. But I didn’t want to be around everybody and the culture of the team. It was really difficult. I don’t think people understand how difficult emotionally and mentally that is. It’s tough. I just wanted to be a professional athlete, I wanted to be cutthroat and I wanted to win. But you still have to play the political game and the social game sometimes.”
In August, Solo said current national team star Megan Rapinoe would “bully” her teammates into kneeling for the national anthem.
The decorated USWNT goalkeeper was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s 2022 class in January after missing out during her first two years of eligibility.