Hope Solo spoke publicly about her March arrest for the first time Thursday on her podcast.
The former U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper was found passed out behind the wheel in a Walmart parking lot in Winston-Salem, N.C., on March 31, with her two children in the back seat. She was arrested and later pleaded guilty to driving while impaired.
“About four and a half months ago, I made the biggest mistake of my life,” Solo said. “I let alcohol get the better of me in a decision that I will never live down, a decision that has come at a great cost to me and my family.”
Solo, 41, opened up about the incident on “Hope Solo Speaks” after previously issuing a statement via social media. The episode comes three weeks after her guilty plea.
At the time of Solo’s arrest, her blood alcohol level was 0.24, which is three times the legal limit of .08 in North Carolina, according to the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office. Her blood test also showed THC in her system, prosecutors said.
“The reality of what this meant was horrific: The embarrassment, the shame, the financial loss, the thought of explaining this to my children when they’re old enough to search the internet,” she said on the podcast. “Mostly, I had to get to the bottom of why I found myself in that situation, in that moment, with a police officer knocking on my car window.”
Following her arrest, Solo spent 30 days at Hope Valley, an in-person rehab facility, something she called both “awful and great.” During that time, she said she had to come to terms with her journey since giving birth to her twins in March 2020.
The twins began their life in the neonatal intensive care unit, and they came home early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The isolation of the pandemic coupled with the lack of a support system at her new home in North Carolina led Solo to drink more heavily, she said.
“I was foolish to think I had it under control,” she acknowledged.
Solo said she was suffering through postpartum depression and the symptoms that come with it: unexplainable guilt, anxiety, restlessness and fatigue. She also withdrew from friends and family, she said, though she did not realize she was doing so at the time.
“I am proud of the work we have done in raising our children and all the hate on the internet or being mother-shamed around the world doesn’t have the ability to take that away,” she said. “Nonetheless, it resulted in stressful times, ones that were eased with a drink.
“In treatment, I was educated to the reality that my strength had become my weakness. My ability to compartmentalize and push forward through emotional pain in uncharted territory led me down a dangerous path… I found myself living the worst night of my life. I let alcohol get the better of me in this moment, on this god-awful day, and I will suffer the consequences for some time.”
Solo will now serve two years of probation, during which time she will see a court-approved addiction expert and abide by any other court-mandated treatment. Her driver’s license has also been suspended for one year.
“I will have to answer to my children in an honest, open discussion sometime in the future. I can’t just leave this behind me,” she said. “I can’t drive for an entire year, which is a massive inconvenience to my family and is a loss of independence. I have been used for s—- headlines once again, and once again, some accurate, many not accurate. But I gave the media and those who don’t know me a reason to actually talk s—. I was responsible for allowing this negativity into my family and upon my name.”
A member of the USWNT for 16 years, Solo was a member of the team that won the World Cup in 2015 and is a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
In June 2014, Solo was arrested on domestic violence charges following an alleged altercation with her half-sister and 17-year-old nephew. Those charges were eventually dropped. She was later terminated by U.S. Soccer after calling the Swedish team “a bunch of cowards” after the 2016 Rio Olympics.