While Hope Solo blocked shots during Tuesday's U.S. women's soccer team training session for an upcoming game against Ireland, 11-year-old Natalie Sacker stood near the goal at Jeld-Wen Field wearing a black Solo jersey with a cardboard sign at her side that read, "FC Salmon Creek Loves Hope Solo."
In other words, Sacker is a big Solo fan. She has a six-by-nine-foot Fathead poster of the goalkeeper on her bedroom wall in the family's Vancouver, Wash., home. A goalkeeper herself, Sacker also writes notes reminding her to do things that Solo does as a player.
So how did this young girl respond two weeks ago when she read the bizarre story that her favorite player had married Jerramy Stevens just one day after the former football player had been arrested on suspicion of fourth-degree domestic violence?
Natalie simply told her mother, "I hope the marriage works out, and she is still a great soccer player."
"I think coming from someone that young, that's very wise," Stephanie Sacker said of her daughter's comments. "Not everything in your personal life is worth copying, but that certainly doesn't take away from you as an athlete and a role model in the sport. I thought that was very mature of her to recognize that. ...
"You hope for the best and hope there is more to the story that maybe isn't quite as dramatic as it seems."