Wednesday, 19 September 2018
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Hope Solo says youth soccer in the US has become a ‘rich, white kid sport’

Hope Solo says youth soccer in the US has become a ‘rich, white kid sport’
28 Jun
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SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Martin Rogers puts into perspective Germany’s epic collapse and Mexico’s chances in the round of 16. USA TODAY Sports

Former U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo said Tuesday soccer in the United States has become a “rich, white kid sport” and that the sport’s high cost at the youth level is detrimental to the “state of the game.” 

“My family would not have been able to afford to put me in soccer if I was a young kid today,” Solo said at the Hashtag Sports conference in New York. 

“That obviously alienates so many communities, including Hispanic communities, the black communities, the rural communities and under-represented communities. Soccer, right now, has become a rich, white kid sport.” 

The two-time Olympic gold medalist also pointed blame at the high cost in the youth system as to why the U.S. men’s national soccer team failed to qualify for this summer’s World Cup in Russia. 

“You have to look at why have our U.S. men not qualified for the World Cup? And it goes back to our youth system,” Solo said. “And it’s because we are alienating so much talent in the youth system, and it breaks my heart because these kids are passionate about the game and they are filled with great skill, yet they’re being told if you don’t have the money, you can’t represent your country.”

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In making her case, Solo said that the average price for a kid to play soccer in the U.S. is $15,000 per year. However, recent Time Magazine figures from 2017 indicate that the average is $1,472. It’s unclear what statistics Solo was referencing.   

Solo helped guide the U.S. women’s national team to a World Cup title in 2015. Her contract with U.S. soccer was terminated following the 2016 Rio Olympics after she made critical comments about the Swedish national team. Solo most recently ran an unsuccessful campaign to become the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation. 

U.S. soccer legend Landon Donovan recently shared similar sentiments with USA TODAY Sports, saying, “soccer has become a sport that only wealthy people can play. If you’re a parent who makes $30,000, $40,000 a year, how can you possibly afford to pay $3,000-$4,000 to play soccer?” 

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