As the U.S. Women’s National Team heads into its first fall friendly on Aug. 20 against Switzerland in front of a sold-out crowd at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo is on the verge of breaking a long-standing U.S. Soccer record. Solo, who has earned 71 shutouts in her 152 caps since debuting for the USA in 2000, needs just one more clean sheet to surpass Briana Scurry’s record, set over 173 caps from 1994-2008.
“It’s taken a lot of work over many years to get to this point, but of course no goalkeeper earns a shutout without their teammates,” said Solo. “The U.S. team has always taken pride not only in its defense and in winning games, but also in keeping opponents off the scoreboard. It’s been fun to play with so many players over the years and especially those in the back, so it’s an honor to be in a position to earn a record like this one. Hopefully, we can earn this shutout soon, and keep earning them as we work toward qualifying for the Women’s World Cup next summer.”
Solo, who made her debut on April 5, 2000, in an 8-0 victory against Iceland, is part of a six-goalkeeper club that earned a shutout in their first senior team cap for the United States. She would not earn another until 2002 and got her third in 2005 when she became the USA’s starter and began racking up the clean sheets.
Solo’s shutouts have spanned the globe with 30 of the 71 coming outside the United States in South Korea, China PR, Mexico, Norway, Germany, Canada, Japan and England. She has also earned shutouts against 16 different countries, the most coming against Canada (9) and China (8), which are two of the USA’s most frequent opponents.
She has played behind almost three dozen different defenders during her international career, but the back four for her first shutout consisted of Christie Pearce (now Rampone), current U.S. U-20 Women’s World Cup Team head coach Michelle French, Nandi Pryce and Danielle Slaton.
The back four for her most recent shutout, on June 14 against France, has one name in common with that back four 14 years ago: Christie Rampone. The current U.S. captain was joined by Ali Krieger, Becky Sauerbrunn and Stephanie Cox as the USA won 1-0 in Tampa, Florida.
Solo has averaged just over five shutouts a year during her 14-year international career, and her high came during the Olympic gold-medal winning year of 2008 when she notched 13 clean sheets. Five of Solo’s shutouts have been 0-0 affairs, but she has been in the nets for a remarkable 19 matches that ended 1-0 for the USA. She has guarded the goal for the USA for 12,552 minutes.
As a 5-foot-9 athletic specimen out of Richland in eastern Washington, she has always been known as a big-game player. She has put together some of her greatest performances when the lights were brightest and the stakes were the highest. And the statistics bear that out. Eleven of Solo’s shutouts have come in world championship play, five in the FIFA Women’s World Cup and six during the Olympics.
In fact, 42 of Solo’s career shutouts – almost 60 percent – have come in tournament competitions that include world championships, qualifying for the World Cup and Olympics and elite tournaments such as the Algarve Cup, which is held annually in Portugal.
She won the Golden Glove as the top goalkeeper at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany and also won the Bronze Ball as the third-best player, the first time a goalkeeper has been voted one of the top three players in the tournament.
Solo has earned shutouts under five different U.S. WNT head coaches, including the most (37) for Pia Sundhage. She is also closing in on Scurry’s record of 133 career wins for the U.S. WNT. Solo is at 117 wins and counting.
Scurry’s last shutout came in June of 2007, so the record has stood for more than seven years. Soon, it will fall and #Solo72 will take its place.