Former U.S. women's national soccer team goalkeeper Jillian Loyden, who starred at Villanova, spoke out publicly against Hope Solo on Monday, urging that the team's goalkeeper not be permitted to play until her domestic-abuse case is resolved.
"U.S. Soccer needs to send the right message," Loyden, a Vineland native, wrote in a USA Today op-ed piece. "They need to communicate that domestic violence is never OK and that it will not be tolerated."
In November, Solo pleaded not guilty to two counts of misdemeanor domestic abuse. Police in Kirkland, Wash., said she punched and scratched her 17-year-old nephew and then attacked his mother when she tried to help.
As discussion of domestic abuse among athletes has ratcheted up, Solo, who holds the international record for shutouts with 73, has continued to play in "friendly" matches for the United States. In one game last week, she wore the captain's armband.
The subject is an intensely personal one for Loyden. Her 23-year-old sister, Britton, was killed in a 2012 domestic-abuse incident. Ismael Pierce, the father of Britton Loyden's then-2-year-old son, has been charged with murder.
Solo's attorney said his client would have no comment on the article. Loyden did not immediately return a phone call.
"Speaking out on these issues is not always easy," Loyden wrote. "Solo is my teammate and a personal mentor. But I cannot stand by as young fans receive the message that this behavior - even if the allegations proved to be inaccurate - can go unnoticed."
Loyden, 29, who played professionally for seven years, also announced her retirement from soccer on Monday, in part to devote herself to helping to raise her late sister's son. She has started the Jillian Loyden Foundation and dedicated it to ending domestic violence.
"Every nine seconds, a woman suffers from domestic violence in the United States," Loyden wrote. "One in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. Millions of children witness domestic violence in their homes each year.
"Until recently, professional sports leagues have largely turned a blind eye towards domestic abuse. . . . In the past several months, the issue of domestic violence has been brought front and center in the sports community. . . . The landscape of professional athletics is changing. The athletes and leaders of all sports need to recognize this fact."
The national team is standing by Solo, who was named Monday to the U.S. roster for this month's CONCACAF championship, which serves as qualifying for next year's World Cup.
The championships for soccer's North and Central American and Caribbean region will be played in four U.S. cities, beginning Oct. 15 in Kansas City, Kan. The championship will be played Oct. 26 at PPL Park in Chester, with the top three finishers earning a World Cup spot.
Only one other goalkeeper is on the 20-player roster for the CONCACAF championships: Ashlyn Harris, who played last season for the NWSL's Washington Spirit. The roster includes veterans Carli Lloyd of Delran, Abby Wambach, and Christie Rampone, forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Megan Rapinoe, and Virginia midfielder Morgan Brian.