Hope Solo says female players should be allowed to play for men’s teams and believes football can be the most popular sport in the United States.
The Seattle Sounders goalkeeper, who has won over 100 caps for the United States women’s team and claimed an Olympic gold medal in 2008, spoke exclusively to Goal.com at the Global Sports Forum in Barcelona.
And the 2011 Ballon d’Or nominee admitted she considered turning out for a men’s side in 2003, when the US Women’s Soccer League suspended operations.
“I thought about it (playing in a men’s league) when our league folded,” Solo said. “I thought about playing for a lower-division men’s club team in Saint Louis.”
“And I do believe I would have been able to take care of myself and handle my own if it was a lower division.”
Former Serie A side Perugia attempted to sign German international Birgit Prinz and Sweden striker Hanna Ljungberg in 2003, while Brazilian forward Marta has continually claimed she could cut it in a men’s league.
“It’s unfortunate that it wouldn’t be allowed by FIFA because I think as women, we need a place to play and there’s not always a lot of opportunities to become the best in the world, and if you look at the players who want to do it, they want to be the best in the world; the Martas, Maribel Dominguez, the Ljungbergs,” she said.
“I think it should be allowed if it’s fair and if they deserve to be on the team. Not out of charity.”
“We haven’t embraced the game of soccer (as much as other countries) but on the women’s side we fill the stadiums,” she said.
“We outsell many of the MLS teams in America when the women play. It’s very different but it’s not a very intelligent fan base because we don’t have the rich history and we don’t have the tradition.”
Story: Ben Hayward
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