Hope Solo, a former star goalie with the US women’s soccer team, pleaded guilty on Monday to driving while impaired, four months after she was found passed out behind the wheel in the parking lot of a Walmart in Winston-Salem, NC, with her two children in the back seat, the authorities said.
Her sentence of two years in prison was suspended for all but 30 days, the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release. The conditions of her sentencing allowed her to be relieved of that prison time through 30 days she spent at an in-person rehab facility, prosecutors said.
During two years of probation, she will have to see a court-approved addiction expert and abide by any further court-mandated treatment, according to the District Attorney’s Office. She also had to surrender her driver’s license and will not be able to operate a car until she gets her license back, the release said.
As part of her plea agreement, two other charges – misdemeanor child abuse and resisting a public officer – were dropped, Jim O’Neill, the Forsyth County district attorney, said in an interview.
“I underestimated what a destructive part of my life alcohol had become,” Ms. Solo wrote in a statement posted to Instagram on Monday. “I made a huge mistake. Easily the worst mistake of my life.”
Her legal team did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Monday night.
On March 31, Ms. Solo was found by a police officer asleep at the wheel with two children asleep in the back while her car’s engine ran, according to the district attorney’s office. A police officer noticed a strong odor of alcohol and asked her to perform sobriety tests, but Ms. Solo refused, prosecutors said.
She was arrested, but refused to submit to a breathalyzer test, the District Attorney’s Office. A police officer obtained a search warrant for a blood sample and found that Ms. Solo had a blood alcohol level of 0.24, according to the news release. That is three times North Carolina’s legal limit of .08. Additionally, the test showed she had THC in her system, prosecutors said.
Ms. Solo is considered one of the top goalkeepers in recent soccer history. Her two Olympic gold medals came in 2008 in Beijing and in 2012 in London. She won the World Cup in 2015 in Canada. In that World Cup and the one before it, she won the award for best goalie.
Yet she also became known for intemperate behavior that sometimes led to altercations.
In August 2016, after the Swedish team beat the US team in the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics, Ms. Solo criticized the Swedes’ defensive playing tactics and called them “a bunch of cowards.” US Soccer responded by terminating her contract, citing “conduct that is counter to the organization’s principles.”
She was also suspended for 30 days in 2015 after US Soccer learned through news reports that Ms. Solo had argued with the police when her husband, the former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens, was arrested on charges of drunken driving.