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Hope Solo Suspended for Six Months After Calling Swedish Women’s Soccer Team ‘Cowards’

Hope Solo has been suspended from the U.S. Women’s National Team for six months, U.S. Soccer announced on its website on Wednesday, August 24. 

Related: Rio Olympics 2016: Most Memorable Moments from the Opening Ceremony

Hope Solo
Hope Solo on Thursday, June 2, 2016. AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The disciplinary action comes after the soccer star, who helped Team USA to gold in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, slammed the Swedish women’s soccer team in Rio de Janeiro after the U.S. was defeated and knocked out of medal contention in a stunning loss.

“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players,” said Sunil Gulati, the president of the organization. “Beyond the athletic arena and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.”

Related: PHOTOS: Olympic Athletes: Where Are They Now?

After the August 12 game, Solo, 35, said she thought Team USA played a “courageous game,” according to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl. But then she went on to criticize her opponents

“I think we showed a lot of heart. We came back from a goal down. I’m very proud of this team,” she said. “But I also think we played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I strongly believe that.”

After making her comments, she retweeted Wahl’s full transcript of her quote and noted that she’s not the best loser. “Losing sucks. I’m really bad at it,” she wrote.

Swedish coach Pia Sundhage, who previously coached Team USA to two Olympic gold medals, blasted the goalie for her comments. “We won the game. They played more attacking football than we did. We defended very well,” Sundhage said, according to The Los Angeles Times. “It’s OK to be a coward if you win.”

This isn’t Solo’s first suspension. In 2015, she was benched for 30 days for what the team said at the time was “an incident that occurred during the current WNT training camp” that was held in Carson, California.

Related: PHOTOS: Sexiest Female Athletes

The soccer player’s most recent suspension is effective immediately, and she will not be eligible for the U.S. Women’s National Team until February 2017.

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