updated 07/14/2011 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 07/17/2011 AT 11:00 AM ET
She’s accomplished plenty with her hands. But how good is Hope Solo on her feet?
Maksim Chmerkovskiy, for one, would like to find out, and he’s pleading with Team USA’s soccer goalkeeper to be his next partner on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
“Hope Solo!” Chmerkovskiy, 31, exclaimed to PEOPLE at Wednesday’s 2011 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles when asked to name his dream partner for next season. “Let’s do it! I want somebody hot, I want somebody exciting, somebody passionate, and I’ll do the rest.”
Solo, 29, has led the Americans into the World Cup final against Japan. And Chmerkovskiy is hooked. “I’m watching every second of it,” he says of the tournament, which is being held in Germany.
And where do the Ukranian-born dancer’s allegiances lie? “Let’s set the record straight. I’ve been a U.S. citizen for 15 years,” he says. “That’s my team, and it always has been!”
As the U.S. gears up for Sunday’s final, Chmerkovskiy has some advice that could apply both to the pitch and the dance floor. “You better win the whole thing, just please,” he says. “Knock it out, don’t start slow and then have to catch up like we always seem to do. Just kill it in the first half, be done with it, and then cruise control over the rest of the game.”
And his personal message for Solo? “I’m waiting,” he says. “And please don’t hurt your legs.”