Hope Solo is the face of the modern female athlete. She is fearless, outspoken, and the best in the world at what she does: protecting the goal of the U.S. women's soccer team. Her outsizetalent has led her to the pinnacle of her sport the Olympics and the World Cup and made her into an international celebrity. But her journey which began in Richland, Washington, where she was raised by her strong-willed mother, is haunted by her family history. Her father, a philanderer and con man, was convicted of embezzlement when Solo was an infant. She lost touch with him as he drifted out of prison and into homelessness. By the time they reunited, years later, in the parking lot of a grocery store, she was an All-American goalkeeper at the University of Washington and already a budding prospect for the U.S. national team. He was living in the woods.
Despite harboring serious doubts even about the provenance of her father's last name (and her own), Solo embraces him as fiercely as she pursues her dreams of being a world-class soccer player. Moving, sometimes shocking, Solo is a portrait of an athlete finding redemption by staying true, above all, to herself.
Ann Killion is a columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle. She has covered the past ten Olympics and the last three Women's World Cups for SportsIllustrated.com and the San Jose Mercury News.