Richland Native Solo Sending Hope

<p>USA Women's Soccer Goalie & Richland Grad Hope Solo U.S. Soccer</p>

USA Women's Soccer Goalie & Richland Grad Hope Solo U.S. Soccer

As the Women's World Cup continues half way around the globe in China, young players right here in the Mid-Columbia know they're watching one of their own.

Hope Solo represents the red, white, and blue proudly as a member of the U.S. National Team.

But it's only appropriate the goalie jersey she wears everyday is all green -- the same color she wore as a Richland Bomber.

"It's inspiring to have somebody from here to look up to," says Richland senior defender Lindsay Roberts, " 'cause it relates and it hits home more than anything else."

Even though she graduated from Richland more than eight years ago, Solo's presence is spread among a number of young ladies at Bomber Field.

Head coach Chris Smith -- whose first year as coach was Hope's freshman season -- says his players look up to the 26-year-old national star.

"Of course they're very proud of being from the same school that Hope is," says Smith. "And they also try their best to be the same kind of competitor and teammate and the person that she was when she was in high school. They hold that as a goal."

Goal being a word Solo knew well during her time at Richland.

She scored 109 of them while leading the Green and Gold to three straight league titles from 1996 to 1998, as well as a Washington 4A state championship in her senior season.

Senior goalie Jamie Arthurs says, "To kind of have expectations set at a high level, because she had expectations set at a high level when she was here, that's a really great thing to have."

And Coach Smith adds knowing someone's met those expectations before is half the battle.

"Whether they're playing professional soccer, they're playing on an Olympic team, or a national team, the fact that somebody that came from this school and from this area has made that achievement, it makes it more real," Smith says.

"And everybody on the team sort of has the same feeling towards, it's really great to have somebody from your own team, to go that far," Arthurs adds. "Having somebody like that, you always look up to and know that your dreams can come true if you work hard enough."

And the Bombers will continue to do so...knowing they always have Hope.

Coach Smith says he keeps in touch with his former player via email, in fact, he talked to Hope just before she left for China and the World Cup. And Smith adds he still thinks of Hope as a freshman who was worried she wouldn't even make the varsity team at Richland.

Things have certainly changed.

The Bombers will be keeping close tabs on Hope's performance in China. Next up, the U.S. takes on Sweden Friday morning at 2 A.M. Pacific time.