Brandi Chastain on Hope Solo, youth clinics
September, 30, 2012
By Lynn Hoppes | ESPN.com
Ryan T. ConatyU.S. soccer great Brandi Chastain hosts a youth soccer clinic in Providence, R.I., on Saturday.Two months later, U.S. soccer great and NBC broadcaster Brandi Chastain still hasn't talked with U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo about their differences at the Summer Olympics. And Chastain really hasn't given it much thought.
"That was an unusual circumstance, and I still feel the same way today as I did then," said Chastain, who has two World Cup titles and two Olympic gold medals. "I had a responsibility to be objective. I don't spend any time really thinking about it."
In London, after the July 28 match, Solo attacked Chastain on Twitter over Chastain's criticisms of the U.S. defense and goalkeeping during that match. Solo mentioned that Chastain needed to "get more educated" and improve her skills. Solo has still been talking about Chastain, while Chastain, 44, has taken the high road.
"I think sometimes, even as a player myself, it's difficult to be criticized and analyzed, but that's part of sports," Chastain said. "I know the comments are subjective. And I know it's difficult. But I know when I do well, and I know when I don't. And you want to learn from those things."
Chastain believes her duty these days is to give back.
Working with Libby's Fruits & Vegetables, Chastain has traveled from her home in California to the Northeast this fall to host several youth clinics. On Saturday, she was in Providence, R.I. In a few weeks, she's heading to Hartford, Conn.
"I believe what I learned through soccer has been a gift to me, and I believe it's my responsibility to share that with other young, aspiring athletes," Chastain said. "Also, as a parent, I think it's imperative to learn how to be a better parent every day. Those who played on the national teams back in the day are ambassadors for our sport."
Chastain, who also presented a $5,000 donation to each of the youth soccer leagues on behalf of Libby's Single Fruit Cups, said it's "perplexing" when she sees all these little girls at the clinic, but it's still hard to sustain a nationwide pro league.
"Selling pro sports is difficult. Selling pro soccer is difficult. And then you add females into that equation, and it's even more difficult," Chastain said. "I'm so passionate about soccer and how great this game is and what the kids get out of it. But I know families are stretched like they've never been stretched before. The key to success is knowing that it's going to take a long time, but the investment needs to be made."