While it is virtually impossible for Kristine Lilly pick her 13 most favorite moments from an international career that began in 1987, like on the soccer field, she did her best, dug deep, and picked 13 that she really, really enjoyed.
Feb. 17, 1996 – Before a game against Sweden in Houston, Lilly hears the crowd singing the U.S. National Anthem. It is the first time she could really hear a crowd belt it out.
Said Lilly: “It’s always an honor to wear the U.S. jersey and when you hear the crowd singing the anthem it reminds you that we are all in this together.”
Jan. 16, 2006 – Lilly earns her 300th cap in a 3-1 win against Norway and scores on a brilliant direct free kick.
Said Lilly: “I just remember hitting it and being like ‘this is going in.’ And doing it against Norway, one of our biggest rivals, it was a great feeling. I hadn’t scored many free kicks so it felt good.”
July 10, 1999 – Brandi Chastain scores the winning penalty kick in the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final.
Said Lilly: “I remember watching her kick and because of our angle, we all knew the ball was going in before it hit the net. I think I jumped the highest I’ve ever jumped in my entire life. It was pure happiness.”
June 10, 1995 – The USA defeats Australia 4-1 in the final group game of the 1995 Women’s World Cup.
Said Lilly: “This one was special because we had to score four goals to win the group and scored two in the last three minutes of the game, but even more so in that it was the first game of the tournament that my brother, Scott, had made it to. The stadium was pretty empty and before the game I knew he was there because he shouted…”Lilly sucks!’”
July 1, 1999 – The USA comes from a goal down twice to defeat Germany, 3-2, in 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinals in front of President Bill Clinton.
Said Lilly: “I remember after that game having a really good feeling that we were going to win the World Cup.”
August 23, 2004 – Lilly scores the first goal as the USA defeats Germany, 2-1, in overtime to advance to the Olympic gold medal match.
Said Lilly: “I remember being completely exhausted at the end of the game and grateful that we were about to play for a gold medal.”
July 14, 2007 – The USA faces Norway in East Hartford, Conn. The game is a special one for the U.S. captain and Wilton, Conn., native as Governor M. Jodi Rell signs a proclamation declaring the day “Kristine Lilly Day.” Lilly assists on the winning goal in the 1-0 victory.
Said Lilly: “It’s always nice to play back in your home state and to be honored with a day was pretty special. My family and friends were there and it was really nice to share that with them.”
May 7, 2000 – Kristine Lilly plays in her 200th match against Canada at PGE Park in Portland, Ore. and is carried off the field on the shoulders of her teammates.
Said Lilly: “I remember being nervous that they were going to drop me. And my parents were there to share it with me.”
May 21, 1998 – Before the match in which she broke the all-time caps record, passing Norwegian Heidi Stoere when she played in her 152nd game in against Japan in Kobe, the team gives her a standing ovation in the locker room.
Said Lilly: “I remember just being caught off guard because (then head coach) Tony (DiCicco) was telling the team that I was about to break the record and everyone just started clapping. It was one of those private moments behind the scenes with just your teammates.”
Nov. 30, 1991 – Winning the Women’s World Cup, Lilly looks into the stands and sees her father with an American flag sticker on his cheek and a smile from ear to ear.
Said Lilly: “I just remember how proud he was. That made me feel great.”
July 10, 1999 – After the USA wins the 1999 Women’s World Cup, the injured and physically drained Michelle Akers makes her way back out to the field as the crowd chanted “Akers!, Akers! Akers!”
Said Lilly: “When I heard the chants, I remember wanting her to be on the stage with us because she was such a big part of us winning. Then we saw her coming out onto the field and I knew it was a great moment for her.”
July 10, 1999 -- Lilly leaps to clear a ball off the goal line in sudden death overtime to save the Women’s World Cup final. Fan Yunjie of China had sent a header over Briana Scurry that was heading into the goal, only to see Lilly on the spot to head the ball away.
Said Lilly: “I remember looking at Julie Foudy as we ran back up the field and the look on our faces told that story. We started laughing…’Did that just really happen?’”
Aug. 26, 2004 – Atop the medal stand in Athens, Greece, with the other four ‘91ers, the five U.S. Soccer pioneers – Lilly, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy – leave their last world championship together as gold medallists.
Said Lilly: “I remember being so happy that we just won a gold medal, but I also knew that we would never stand there again as teammates. It was a very emotional moment for a lot of reasons.”