Hope Solo is dropping her clothes for ESPN Magazine. Getting the honor as one of four athletes featured solo on the magazine's cover, the U.S. soccer goalkeeper showed off some serious muscle as she posed completely nude for its third-annual Body Issue, which will hit newsstands across the United States on Friday, October 7.
In an interview with the publication, the 30-year-old soccer star confessed, "Growing up, I felt insecure about my build." She recalled, "Guys would say, 'Look at those muscles! You can kick my ass!' I didn't feel feminine. But that's changed in the last four years." Nevertheless, she added, "I still don't buy the idea that I'm a sex symbol."
Speaking about having to strip naked for the photo shoot, Hope told Access Hollywood in a separate interview, "[It's] one of the hardest photo shoots I've ever done." She went on to point out the obvious, "It took a lot of courage obviously. Probably for eight hours I was naked in front of eight people."
Although she was nervous in the beginning, the Olympic gold medalist remembered feeling comfortable with her nudity at the end. "I was so nervous at first that I started screaming when they dropped the robe," she said, "and then by the end of the day I was talking to people like it was nothing. Just standing there nude having conversations."
Though admitting that posing naked is hard to do, Hope claimed that competing on "Dancing with the Stars" was even harder. "This is one of the hardest things I've never done," she said of the dancing competition. "This is harder than the naked photo shoot, I assure you. [I'm] more sure of myself being naked than dancing, absolutely."
The 2011 Body Issue of ESPN Magazine also featured snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, speed skater Apollo Anton Ohno and New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes on the separate covers. Other athletes, including Olympic gymnast Alicia Sacramone and star goalkeeper Tim Howard, also pose naked for the annual issue.