The Nantucket Project is an organization that has an annual conference on Nantucket during the month of September. They bring a variety of speakers to the island who present different, inspiring ideas and thoughts. This year, the Nantucket Project brought U.S. Women’s National Team and United States Olympic Team Goalkeeper, Hope Solo to speak at one of their sessions, and Nantucket High School’s very own Lady Whalers Soccer team was invited to attend. Solo’s talk was mainly about her continuous fight for equal pay for women. She informed her listeners on the success of the U.S. Women’s National team, with little to no reward for them. The women are paid twenty-five percent less than their male counterparts, despite the fact that the U.S. Women’s National team has brought in over twenty million dollars in the last year, while the men’s team has lost the federation around two million dollars. The girls soccer team found it particularly inspiring to hear about this issue from a well known figure they have all looked up to since they started playing soccer themselves
Captain Emily Ballinger said, “Hearing her talk about how she is still continuing to fight for equal pay for all athletes was really inspiring. Even though she was fired, she still continues to stand up for what she believes in and fight for an important change in our society.”
During her talk, Solo also touched briefly on her current situation with U.S. Soccer. She was fired from the team she had committed almost 16 years of her life playing for, due to negative comments she made towards her opponents during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Many agree that her punishment was far too harsh.
Ballinger mentioned, “I think the extent of being fired for what she did was a little extreme. A suspension would have been much more appropriate especially considering the fact that there are athletes out there who have done far worse.”
The coach of the Lady Whalers Soccer team, Phil Taylor, agreed with this statement, saying, “There have been some poor decisions, but those life lessons are something that we can take and it doesn’t change you as a person when you make a poor choice, and everyone should have a chance to overcome and put things right.”
Despite the response from U.S. Soccer that Solo received, she did not stop fighting for an issue she was so passionate about, and she continued to be the role model that so many young athletes have looked up to. It was because of this that so many people worked hard to make sure the girl’s soccer team was able to experience this.
Taylor said, “It was important to me to have the team attend the Nantucket Project, to inspire them, and allow them to see what is available to them in life if they follow the path of soccer. She is a great role model to have, not that everything she has done has been role model behavior, but I believed the girls were mature enough to take inspiration from all she has done and challenges she has faced as a goalkeeper and the change she has made fighting for equal rights.”
The Nantucket Project provides the island with new experiences, thoughts, ideas, and inspirations. Hope Solo brought a very important issue to the attention of lots of people that day, and Nantucket High School’s Lady Whalers Soccer team was very fortunate to have been able to hear the story and continuous fight of inspiring figures like Hope Solo.