A former U.S. women's team assistant coach has declined to comment on Hope Solo's claim that he was in the room when she was allegedly shoved by then-U.S. head coach Greg Ryan in 2007.
According to Solo's new memoir Solo: A Memoir of Hope, Phil Wheddon was present when Solo was allegededly shoved back into her chair by Ryan as she attempted to leave a meeting where the goalkeeper was told she would be benched for the team's upcoming World Cup match against Brazil.
"I will not be making any comment on this situation," Wheddon told Goal.com.
Wheddon now coaches Syracuse and his refusal to comment on the situation will only put more pressure on Ryan, who is now the head coach at Michigan University. Ryan recently denied Solo's claim in a written statement to ESPN.com.
"This allegation is completely false," Ryan told ESPN.com. "I did not shove or push Hope as I've been accused in her book. I would have been terminated immediately by USA Soccer had this allegation been true. I have openly discussed the contents of the meeting and this is the first time that this accusation has been brought to light."
Solo claims in her book that she stood up to leave a meeting with Ryan, who pushed her back down on a couch. She writes that the coach told her "you [expletive] leave when I say you can leave.'"
"I wasn't going to let him provoke me. I restrained myself and glanced over at Phil, glad to have a witness," she wrote in the book.
Brianna Scurry, one of the starters of the 1999 ground-breaking U.S. women's World Cup-winning team, started instead of Solo and the U.S. ended up losing 4-0 to Brazil in the 2007 World Cup semifinal match. Solo criticized the decision to reporters after, drawing controversy and some criticism.
"It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that," Solo said at the time. "There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. And the fact of the matter is it's not 2004 anymore. It's not 2004. And it's 2007, and I think you have to live in the present.
"And you can't live by big names. You can't live in the past. It doesn't matter what somebody did in an Olympic gold medal game in the Olympics three years ago. Now is what matters, and that's what I think."
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