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Hope Solo discusses off-field issues, USWNT punishment in TV interview


US goalkeeper Hope Solo kicks the ball during their Brasilia International Tournament final football match against Brazil at Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia, on December 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/EVARISTO SA (Photo credit should read EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

United States women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo has been reinstated by the team ahead of the upcoming Algarve Cup, where the States will hope to make amends for last year’s worst-ever performance at the tournament in Portugal.

Solo is also on the front foot in trying to earn a different sort of reconciliation, that that comes from the public. The 33-year-old goalkeeper has come under fire for her actions during the recent arrest of her husband for driving a U.S. team van while drunk, mere days after her domestic violence charges were dropped.

Those charges were an even bigger issue because of a relative issue in the National Football League, as U.S. Soccer did not suspend Solo despite NFL players punished for similar incidents.

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US Soccer president Sunil Gulati has said that further actions by Solo could get her banned from the team for this summer’s World Cup in Canada.

As part of an interview to air on “Good Morning America” this Wednesday, Solo responded to both incidents.

On not being suspended: “All of us, in my opinion, have a fundamental right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. I know US Soccer took a lot of heat but I am very grateful they let due process play itself out. Those eight months were some of the worst months of my entire life.”

On the incident that did get her suspended: “Well, clearly, I wasn’t thinking. I mean, it was a horrible choice. ... I think I just wasn’t in a good place, emotionally, to even make good decisions. I mean, it’s not an excuse but I just, it was stupid. Should’ve called a taxi.”

On dealing with her emotions: “I’m working through those emotions. I was filled with anger. I’m finally able to sit down, talk to somebody about what I’ve been going through -- very traumatic events over the last year. Just being able to talk to somebody has been really beneficial to me. I can cry it out. I can try to understand it. It’s been healthy for me to talk it out and to deal with my emotions instead of tucking them away.”

On restoring her image: “I want people to realize I’m just human. I’m just human and I make mistakes. I want people to be able to forgive me they’re willing to do so. I just want to be the best athlete I can be, the best person I can be and I know I have a lot of room for improvement.”

Apologies are well and good, but the proof of her sincerity will come in whether she stays out of trouble moving forward. The domestic violence charges were dropped because of lack of cooperation from witnesses, something that reads awfully suspicious given the victim-shaming that often occurs in assault cases (Of course, we must also acknowledge that she could be completely innocent).

We’ll see.

Follow @NicholasMendola