Hope Solo has never been one to mince words, and she used her platform during the U.S. Soccer election to air some grievances prior to the presidential vote to replace the outgoing Sunil Gulati.
Each of the eight candidates was given five minutes to address the National Council at the Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, and Solo's was presented more as an explosive indictment on the establishment–embodied in her eyes by U.S. Soccer president-elect Carlos Cordeiro and Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter–as she implored voters to consider a significant change.
Solo took aim at both in an impassioned speech, which was in line with her platform during her campaign:
"For those of you who think the state of soccer today is good enough, then you should vote for more of the same," Solo said. "The establishment is backing two candidates who represent continuity, who represent not change and who will deliver more of the same. Failure on the pitch, conflict and chaos off of it and not the progress that we need.
"The two establishment candidates, Kathy Carter and Carlos Cordeiro, haven't just been part of the system, they have created and shaped U.S. Soccer into what it is today. A vote for either one of them is a vote for the status quo: disunity, discord and more failure.
"I was a player for 20 years, and I saw first-hand what Carlos Cordeiro's idea of change is. You cannot, as a vice president, claim you are the lone voice for change while all of this happened under your watch. And you as delegates cannot buy that. He was part of a federation that generated millions of dollars off the backs of its players, and much of it off the back of its women's players, who have been the economic engine of this federation for years, yet treated like second-class citizens.
Solo then detailed a direct discrepancy in payment that she received for one year vs. that of U.S. men's goalkeeper Tim Howard before continuing.
"[Cordeiro] was part of a federation that could have been the first to pay its women equally," Solo said. "Instead, that honor goes to Norway. While the U.S. women, the most successful team ever, has to force it through the court system. He was part of the same federation that time and time again approved unsafe playing conditions for the women and who still play on turf, while the men play on grass. He was part of a federation that thinks it's acceptable for a player in the NWSL to make less than $10,000 a year and have to take a second or third job just to fulfill her dream of being a professional athlete. He was part of the same federation that leaves me with no health insurance, no retirement of any kind, after serving my country as the best in the world for 20 years. For 10 years, Carlos Cordeiro was in a position to create change, and he did nothing. He failed me, he failed my teammates and he failed the women of the NWSL."
Solo lambasted the federation for allowing the NWSL's Boston Breakers to fold and said that growing the women's game is "good business" before turning her attention and ire to Carter.
"Yes I am passionate about equality ... Yet the business women among the candidates, Kathy Carter, who proclaims that she is 'all in' on the women's game, never once showed any kind of support for us during our fight for equal pay. As the highest ranking female soccer executive in America, whose voice could have meant something, Kathy Carter's voice was silent. She calls for equal pay and transparency, yet when the two United States senators asked Soccer United Marketing under Kathy Carter for a breakdown of revenue for the men's and women's national teams, she refused. We are better than this."
The speech evidently didn't resonate among the voting electorate. The two candidates combined to receive almost three quarters of the vote on the first ballot and were the runaway leaders during the election process.