Solo a no-show for first practice since World Cup flap
ST. LOUIS -- Goalkeeper Hope Solo missed the workout but is back on the U.S. women's soccer roster. Make no mistake, though: All is not forgotten.
"We're initiating a process of reconciliation, and in doing that you can't mandate reconciliation," coach Greg Ryan said Friday. "This isn't a made for Hollywood love story, this is a real story, and we're all working at that."
This was the team's first practice since Solo triggered a flap over playing time during the World Cup last month. Ryan was criticized by Solo after he went with veteran Briana Scurry in the semifinals of the World Cup and the U.S. lost 4-0.
The coach said he had no problem with Solo's excused decision to miss the workout before the start Saturday night of a three-game exhibition series against Mexico.
The wounds are still fresh for the 36-year-old Scurry, who was criticized by Solo as a relic of America's past glories when she said, "You can't live by big names. You can't live in the past."
Scurry, who will get the start Saturday, said she has not spoken with Solo. Scurry began backing away from an interview after fielding a few questions on the subject.
"I really don't have any comment about it," Scurry said. "I'm just going to leave it as it is. It's a done deal, it's over."
Solo allowed two goals in four World Cup games and had a shutout streak of nearly 300 minutes before Ryan switched to Scurry, who had beaten Brazil two straight times and was in goal in 1999 when the Americans won their last World Cup.
Scurry, who has no plans to retire, said there's no shame in losing to Brazil.
"That day was just their day, that's sports for you," Scurry said. "Moving forward, we're just going to have to continue to do what we've done well, and hopefully we can put it together for the Olympics."
Ryan said Solo apologized both to him and her teammates. Still, there's lingering disapproval.
Captain Kristine Lilly said just because male athletes pop off all the time doesn't mean it's right.
"I think for the most part we're dealing with it as a group, and I think that's where it always should have been from the start. I still think Terrell Owens is wrong, too," Lilly said, referring to the outspoken wide receiver. "You want things kept within the family."
Ryan said it was a difficult to quantify how much progress had been made in the relationships involving Solo, her coach and her teammates.
"Relationships you've had, tell the truth, they're a process," he said. "Do you see progress? You know what, the fact you're together and looking eyeball to eyeball is progress."
Asked whether he had doubts whether to include Solo on the roster, Ryan said: "Those thoughts I'm going to keep to myself."
He believes he made the right call, although he wouldn't commit to giving Solo any playing time in the Mexico series. There also are games Oct. 17 in Portland, Ore., and Oct. 20 in Albuquerque, N.M.
"That just remains to be seen," Ryan said. "I think it just depends on how things go. I think after a situation like this the key is reconciliation."
The team is 17-1-3 this year and Ryan would like to see it build off its 4-1 victory over Norway for third place in the World Cup. The U.S. team will be making its first appearance in St. Louis since 1996.
The exhibition series could serve as a barometer for the 36-year-old Lilly, who could retire but is weighing her options. She's second on the team with 10 goals this year and her 127 career goals rank second in U.S. history, trailing only Mia Hamm (158).
"I'm giving myself the rest of the year to figure out things, and maybe even more," Lilly said. "I want to make sure I make the right decisions."