Think Before You Speak

Isabel Trevino-Honorbound

Life is complicated and unpredictable. Every decision an individual makes has a cost to society, which ultimately makes life better or worse for oneself. Living a better, happier, and less complicated life is centered on the decisions to maximize one’s utility. The author of Naked Economics, Charles Wheelan, said that, “Individuals act to make themselves as well off as possible. To use the jargon of the profession, individuals seek to maximize their own utility, which is similar concept to happiness, only broader”. [1] However, if individuals often make decisions in ways that do the opposite, is it valid to think of individuals seeking to maximize utility? Are individuals aware of what it means to maximize utility by their decisions? This approach is relevant to the U.S. Women’s National goalkeeper, Hope Solo, who did not maximize her own utility, and thus unfortunately lead to the conclusions of her career.

Over the years, Hope Solo has made a name for herself as one of the top female goalkeepers of her generation. Unfortunately, in the 2016 Rio Olympics, the U.S. women’s national soccer team lost 4-3 in the quarterfinals to Sweden in penalty kicks. The U.S. soccer team was sent home after the loss without a medal and Solo irrationally responded to an interview question with a comment that caused an uproar and ultimately lead to the end of her career as a professional soccer player. She was suspended from the U.S. Women’s National soccer team for six months when she stated, “We played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I strongly, firmly believe that”. [2] Additionally, she had a history of other inappropriate and unsportsmanlike misbehavior’s that led to shorter suspensions, but this recent incident was disproportionate and severe action was taken. Being a professional, playing for her country, having fans, the fame, and ability to do what she loved, Hope was able to maximize her utility. However, with her past misconducts she was unable to maximize her utility. After being suspended for six months, “the organization also ended her contract with the women’s national team, which makes it likely that Solo, who is one of the world’s best goalkeepers, will never play for the U.S. again”. [3] Hope Solo’s decisions and actions undid all of the hard work she put in to becoming one of the greatest women’s goalies, and thus completely depleted her utility.

On the upside, the U.S. women’s national soccer team was able to maximize their utility because they made the appropriate decisions so that they no longer have to worry about Solo’s irrational behaviors. Ultimately, “Replacing Solo in net is the right decision both for the team’s future success and its image”. [4] No one is perfect. We all tend to make mistakes and frequently fail to, and take advantage of opportunities that could potentially maximize our personal utility. It is unfortunate the Hope Solo made a decision that lead to her utility being absolutely depleted. Her public decision ended her career as a soccer player. Hope Solo, sought to maximize her utility by being a very vocal and opinioned soccer player, and unfortunately her actions lead to the complete opposite of that.

[1] Charles Wheelan, Naked Economics: Undressing The Dismal Science (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 6.

[2] “Hope Solo: ‘We Played a Bunch of Cowards'” Los Angeles Times. Accessed October 19, 2016.

[3] “Is This the End of Hope Solo’s U.S. Soccer Career?” The Atlantic. Accessed October 19, 2016.

[4] Wagner, Laura. “U.S. Soccer Needed to Get Rid of Hope Solo, but Not Like This.” Slate Magazine. 2016. Accessed October 19, 2016.

Image Citation:

“Hope Solo Takes Aim at Sweden After U.S. Women Are Ousted …” Accessed October 20, 2016.


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