Solo's polarizing persona is what makes her so crucial to the new league's fortunes. The last professional women's soccer league in the U.S., the Women's United Soccer Association, lasted only three seasons -- largely because it lacked edge. "The WUSA sort of had a focus on preteen, ponytailed girls who aspired to play soccer someday, and so their messaging was around 'cause marketing': 'This league is something girls deserve to have, and as a fan you ought to support this,'" says Tonya Antonucci, a former Yahoo executive and the new league's commissioner. "We're presenting an environment that's not about babysitting kids but is an opportunity to watch the best and be entertained by the best."At the 2007 World Cup, Solo was benched from a semifinal game against Brazil. Afterward she told a reporter that if she'd been in goal the U.S. would not have lost 4-0. She was subsequently banned from the rest of the tournament and the plane ride home.
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