The United States women’s soccer team is the new media darlings and love of American sports fans, despite losing the World Cup final to Japan. And from that team, there might be no bigger star than goal keeper Hope Solo.So what now? There is the 2012 Olympics in London. But that team will be just one of many story lines. And then there is the 2015 World Cup that will take place in Canada, yes Canada. But is a four year wait going to be enough for the star that may or may not be related to Han Solo*?
Or is there something bigger waiting Solo on the American horizon?
Could Solo become the first female soccer player in Major League Soccer? Certainly the American professional soccer league could use a boost that even David Beckham couldn’t provide. Or are they bigger than what many might consider a publicity stunt?
To answer that question, we need a better idea of whether Solo would be competitive with the men.
As a keeper, Solo doesn’t need to worry about being as fast as the men, or have the same level of endurance. No, it is all about protecting the goal. The only question might be if she is big enough.
At 5′ 9″, Hope’s size is the biggest question when it comes to guarding a goal that measures 24 feet wide and 8 feet high. But while she is tall among women, she would be dwarfed by most of the men.
According to Major League Soccer, there are 55 goalies employed by the 18 teams. Those keepers have an average height of 6′ 2″. And of those goalies, only three are under six feet tall. So for Solo to be successful in MLS, she would need to be the exception.
However, of those three keepers under six-feet tall, two of them (Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake and John Busche of San Jose) are starters for their club. So a player of Solo’s size can compete.
At 5’9″, Solo would certainly be at a disadvantage. But based on the undersized nature of a couple of current goalies, her job would not be impossible.
So then the question is then placed at the feet of MLS. Do they want the publicity, or do they worry more about being taken seriously? If Solo can come in and compete, she could give MLS both.
*She’s not, we think
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