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Women's Soccer Gets a Real Bad Girl

Hope SoloI don’t understand pink sports equipment. Actually, I do understand it — and I don’t like it. I hate how pink baseball gloves and pink shin guards and pink basketballs limit who can (and by can, I mean “likely will”) play with them. Pink  is meant to segregate kids, to ensure boys don’t go roughing up the deliciously delicate little pink-mitted girls. There’s something so mocking about, say,  a pink hockey stick. It’s like, “ha, ha, check it out … a girl playing hockey. A girl!”

So I love — just love! — St. Louis Athletica goalkeeper Hope Solo’s reaction to a pink soccer jersey that had been specially designed by Puma for the Women’s Professional Soccer league’s first season.

She wouldn’t wear it.

From the August Atlantic monthly:

“They go and make this padded goalkeeper jersey and it’s hot pink—it just looks girly, it looks juvenile, it doesn’t look professional,” she told me one afternoon as we sat on a bench in an empty Harvard Stadium, where her team had just finished practicing for its game the next day against the Boston Breakers. “And so I said, ‘There’s no way in hell I’m wearing this.’”

Uniform pickiness, according to the article, isn’t Solo’s only bad-girl trait. The player, who has been called the world’s greatest goalkeeper, is a loudmouth, showboat, jerk of an athlete who swaggers and a makes her teammates mad and is bringing a bit of edge to women’s soccer, which, let’s face it, sorely needs it.

Solo knows she rubs a lot of people the wrong way but doesn’t see why she should stop. Cocky male professional athletes are more than tolerated by their organizations. And no matter how bad they get, they always seems to have a large fan base. Solo gets that. She doesn’t need people to like her.

“For some reason, people want to think that we’re girls next door, who all get along and go shopping at the mall together,” she told me. “Treat us like professional athletes.”

Finally, a bad girl who gets attention for something besides a drug problem, pole dancing or going pantsless!

Ha, ha, a girl getting booed. A girl!

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Photo: Atlantic monthly

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