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Nov 27, 2012

Solo strives to put focus on soccer

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hope Solo diffused the drama surrounding her personal life as the gold medal-winning U.S. women's soccer team prepared for an exhibition match against Ireland.

"My life is great," the goalkeeper said. "My life is happy."

Solo made her first appearance with the national team since she was married to former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens in Washington state on Nov. 13, a day after his arrest at a party for domestic violence. A judge determined there wasn't enough evidence to hold Stevens, but the matter remained under investigation.

Solo spoke after a workout with her fellow U.S. teammates at Portland's downtown Jeld-Wen Field. The national team plays Ireland on Wednesday night on its U.S. appreciation tour after a 2-1 victory over Japan in the final match at the London Games.

"It's unfortunate what the media can do to judge before the facts are out there. It's hard to see, but it's a hard truth, and it's part of life," she said. "I'm happy. I'm happily married. I would never stand for domestic violence. I've never been hit in my life."

Solo has had a stellar career with the national team, helping the team to two straight Olympic gold medals. But she's never shied from attention: From her Twitter criticism of former national team member Brandi Chastain during the London Games to appearing on TV's "Dancing with the Stars."

Police say that they were called to a disturbance at a home in Kirkland, a Seattle suburb, in the early morning hours on Nov. 12. Solo and her brother blamed a disturbance on three unknown men. Officers maintained they had probable cause to arrest Stevens because they observed evidence of an altercation, including a cut on Solo's elbow, and his admission that the two had argued, according to court documents.

The next day, Solo and Steven were married. Solo, 31, posted a smiling photo of herself with Stevens, 33, to Twitter two days later.

Stevens was selected with the No. 28 pick of the 2002 draft by the Seahawks after a stellar career at Washington. But he also was involved in incidents away from football that included reckless driving charges for crashing into a nursing home.

His best season with the Seahawks as in 2005 when he started a career-high 12 games and had 45 receptions as the Seahawks won the NFC championship.

Solo also went to Washington. The two started dating following the London Games.

"Like I said, we're happy, and ultimately that's all that matters," she said.

Wednesday's match is the sixth of the U.S. team's Fan Tribute Tour.

Jill Ellis, women's development director for U.S. soccer, is coaching the U.S. team against Ireland. Former Australian national team coach Tom Sermanni takes over the national team in January, replacing Olympic coach Pia Sundhage, who stepped down.

Ireland and the United States will play again Glendale, Ariz., on Dec. 1 as the tour continues.

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