WATCH: Crowd Chants 'Zika' at U.S. Goalkeeper Hope Solo

Josh Luckenbaugh | August 4, 2016

The Rio Olympics kicked off Wednesday with a slew of women's soccer matches, including reigning world champions the United States taking on New Zealand. During the match, fans booed and jeered at U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo whenever she touched the ball, specifically chanting the word "Zika":



The Brazilian crowd's displeasure with Solo stemmed from a series of pictures she posted on Twitter before arriving in the host city, which she captioned with the hashtag "#zikaproof." Solo photographed the bevy of insect repellant she was planning to bring on the trip to Rio, as well as taking a selfie while wearing a mask of mosquito netting:





The Zika virus, carried by mosquitoes and known to cause serious birth defects, has been one of the many overarching concerns in the run-up to the Games, with several athletes drawing out of competition entirely because of Zika. Solo herself detailed her own fears and preparations for combating Zika in an interview with the Associated Press Monday:

I actually spoke to three different infectious disease doctors and specialists. I spoke to them on the phone with my husband as well, and we got to a point where we asked enough questions. We prepared ourselves as best as possible and we got to a level of being as comfortable as we possibly can be. I'm wearing mosquito repellent just in case, I know the odds are very small but you can never be too safe. I'm at a point in my life that I just want to be safe.

Solo also responded to the Twitter backlash, expressing love for Brazil and criticizing the media's coverage of the country's problems:

It's a little bit unfortunate because I think the American media has been really tough on people of Brazil. I feel a little bit bad because when you come here you learn for yourself. I think that we've been very hard on the local people. [...] I heard that there were some negative responses here in Brazil. I never would want to offend the host country. In fact, I'm cheering for Team USA, but besides Team USA, I'm going to be cheering for the host country. I'm very grateful for them for hosting the tournament. Honestly, everybody around here has been so just nice and genuine and it feels very warming to be here.

And despite the fans not giving her such a warm welcome Wednesday, Solo was not discouraged by the antagonistic chants.

"I'm glad the fans had fun," she told reporters after the U.S.'s 2-0 win. "And if they had fun at my expense, more power to them."