'Comments are comments' - Ellis responds to Solo saying she 'cracks under pressure'

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The former USWNT goalkeeper called out the team's manager, who responded by attempting to take the high road

U.S. women’s national team manager Jill Ellis has attempted to brush off Hope Solo’s pointed criticism of her coaching ability.

Speaking to a BBC podcast, Solo unloaded on her former manager last week.

“Jill – she’s not the leader I wish her to be,” Solo said.

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“She relies heavily on her assistant coaches. She cracks under the pressure quite a bit. But oftentimes it doesn’t matter, because the quality of the players on the U.S. team is superb.”

Solo, considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, won two gold medals and the 2015 World Cup title during a decorated spell with the national team.

But Solo was also followed by controversy throughout her career, and was unceremoniously expelled from the team after calling the Swedish national team “a bunch of cowards” for their defensive tactics in a shocking upset defeat for the U.S. in the 2016 Olympic quarterfinals.

Solo also charged that following that defeat to Sweden, Ellis refused to review film of her team’s performance, fearing it would damage her players’ confidence.

"She didn't want us to see our mistakes," Solo said. "She wanted to brush them under the carpet and she wanted to just really stroke the egos of players."

Solo, now 37, has not played since the 2016 Olympics, and is currently working as a pundit for the BBC in their coverage of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Ahead of the USWNT’s World Cup opener against Thailand on Tuesday, Ellis was asked about Solo’s comments during her press conference on Monday.

Ellis, as expected, attempted to take the high road when it came to her former goalkeeper’s harsh words.

“Comments are comments,” Ellis said. “Listen, I feel over the past five years I’ve made a lot of different decisions and I have processes to make those decisions and own those processes.

“And at this point, the focus is about this group of players that are here and now. Comments out there, that’s part of it, and part of the message to all is to make sure the focus is on the internal part, and that’s where we are.”

Ellis took over the USWNT in 2014, and led the team to the 2015 World Cup title. The team is currently ranked number one in the world ahead of kicking off Group F play against Thailand on Tuesday. It will also face Chile and Sweden in group-stage action.

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