The U.S. captain is still one of her country's fastest, strongest and most tenacious players. The central defender became the first U.S. player to compete for four Olympic teams during the 2012 London Olympics. She also is the most-capped U.S. WNT Olympian, earning her record 17th cap during a 4-2 victory against France on July 25. The only mother on the team, she has two daughters and has rebounded strong from both pregnancies to seal her place as one of the most legendary players in U.S. history.
2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Draw: Players’ Reactions and Comments:
U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder LAUREN HOLIDAY
Overall thoughts on Women’s World Cup Draw:
“It’s exciting. It feels real now that we have the draw. It’s a challenging group but we’re up for it and we’re all so excited. You always prepare for hard games at the World Cup and if we get out of this group we’ll be prepared for the rest of the tournament.”
Her initial reaction to being in Group D with Australia, Sweden and Nigeria:
“I think we were all laughing in a good way. The draw was finally over and there was just excitement to hear Sweden’s name. We’re going to play some really hard teams but we’re confident we’re good enough to get out of the group. We were all just really excited.”
On drawing Sweden and facing former U.S. WNT head coach Pia Sundhage:
“Sweden’s a great team and Pia knows us pretty well, but at this point I think we’re a different team and we’ve grown a lot. It’s a challenge that will be fun for us. It’s going to be a really good game.”
On the three opponents in Group D:
“I think our group has some of the top teams. Nigeria brings it in every world championship. They’re so athletic and they keep getting better and better. They’ll be tough to play against. Australia also gets better in every world tournament they play in and they’ve really tried to come together and play some great soccer.”
U.S. Women’s National Team forward SYDNEY LEROUX
On how the team is feeling now after knowing where they are:
“We’re happy to know where our fate lies. Now that the teams are drawn and we know where we’re going to be playing and we who our opponents are, we’re definitely happy about that. You have to beat the best to be the best and we’re willing to do that.”
On playing Sweden in a World Cup:
“It’s a different beat when it comes to a World Cup. Everyone plays their best game, so it will be a tough one. They’re a strong team physically, so we’ve got some stuff to work on, but we’re definitely excited and we’ll be ready.”
On the team’s mentality now after the draw is done:
“It is a ‘bring it on’ attitude, 100 percent. Everyone says that we got the hardest group drawn and it probably is, but for us that’s just another obstacle, and we love pressure. We’re very excited and we’re ready to play.”
U.S. Women’s National Team forward CHRISTEN PRESS
On how the team was feeling before the draw began:
“I think the overwhelming feeling is excitement. The World Cup has been at the forefront of our minds for a while now and it’s always the end goal and the motivation for the team, but it’s still so far away. And just coming together and all going through all the emotion during the draw just made the whole event more real and seemed a lot closer to today.”
On the team’s reaction after the draw was complete and the opponents revealed:
“There was some laughter, excitement and a little bit of tension that we got three really tough and different teams. I have a feeling that’s a good thing. We have to play and beat the best competition to win the World Cup and we have a group that can prepare us for a really intense playoff and knockout play as well. I think it’s a huge advantage to meet great competition at the beginning and not being surprised when you get to the quarterfinals or something like that. I think our team really quickly embraced it. Our journey was never going to be easy one and I don’t think anyone has that hope or expectation. It’s a challenge but we’re a team that accepts the challenge.”
On the team’s mindset:
“It’s absolutely ‘bring it on.’ There’s so much energy and motivation to prepare. We know what we have, what lies ahead, and we have a lot of work to do between now and June 8, but were going to do it and I think that the draw and the excitement before this camp have given us a little bit of a boost because we know we’re going to get the work done and it starts today.”
On drawing Australia and Sweden, two countries with ties and that are very familiar with the USA:
“It made me smile when we drew both of them because of course there are quite a few Australia players in the NWSL, so we have a good familiarity with them. We also played them recently. They’re a good team and play a good brand of soccer and they’re different form both Nigeria and Sweden. Then of course for me personally and several of the girls, we played in Sweden so we know that team so well on and off the field; the connection is there with Pia. Swedish football kind of has a special place in my heart so it’s an exciting and kind of funny matchup for us to have because it’s the team I know best. There’s always an extra motivation and incentive when you’re playing against some of your best friends.”
On how to be ready to face Nigeria, which the USA is not as familiar with:
“I think just with preparation, watching video seeing how they match with competition and trying to predict their tactics. We have a lot more we have to do and focus on ourselves to make sure we’re the best team we can be. We’ll be prepared for whatever they have to throw at us.”
U. S. Women’s National Team defender CHRISTIE RAMPONE
Overall thoughts following the completion of the 2015 WWC Draw:
“We’re glad it’s done and we know who we’re playing. We’re pretty excited. You have to play the best to win a World Cup and we’re in a tough group. I think being able to play good soccer, get out of the group and build momentum into the next round will be good for us.”
On drawing Sweden:
“We know Sweden is a big challenge for us; they’ve proven that in the past. They’re a great squad and with Pia being their leader and their coach, so we know them very well. We’ll need to stay focused and be ready physically and mentally to play against them.”
On Group D opponents:
“We have played Australia a few times and a lot of their players are in the NWSL. Nigeria’s done well. We haven’t seen them as much, but we’ll need to be ready. All three are difficult teams with different challenges. We’ll need to be prepared and focus on ourselves to have the right game plan for each opponent.”
On what the team was saying and thinking during the draw:
“There was an overall sense of us calling it before it even started. We were all saying we were going to draw Sweden. It’s exciting because you want to play teams that challenge you. In a World Cup it means even more. We’re excited because now the wait is over and the preparation starts.”
While South America has produced nine Men’s World Cup champions since 1934, the women’s game has lagged far behind. Sure, the Brazilian women – led by five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Marta – has had some great success, but the rest of the continent is just recently starting to throw more support behind its Women’s National Teams.
It’s for that reason that the trips to South America for the U.S. WNT have been rare. In fact, in its 29-year history, the USA has visited South America just twice – both to Brazil – in 1996 and 1997. The USA’s trip to the International Tournament of Brasilia, a four-team competition played at the National Stadium Mane Garrincha (a 2014 World Cup venue) is a bit of a novelty.
The WNT has played six matches in Brazil, which is also its total games played in South America, and hasn’t been to Brazil in 17 years. The last time was for a pair of games against Brazil in December of 1997, a 2-1 win in Taubaté and a 1-0 loss in São Paulo.
The only player still active from that trip is U.S. captain Christie Rampone who was then competing in her first year of international soccer. As Christie Pearce, she played 90 minutes in both games.
U.S. WNT captain Christie Rampone helps the USA collect a 2-0 win against Brazil on June 23, 2007 in East Rutherford, N.J.
As the USA winds down 2014 and gets ready for an exciting 2015, U.S. head coach Jill Ellis wants to play as many top teams as possible, and it remains a given that a game against Brazil in Brazil is one of the toughest challenges a team can face. The USA will get one match against Brazil, and possibly two, as this tournament pits the top two teams after group play in the championship game.
“We are looking forward to playing against the different styles that each of the three teams present,” said Ellis. “China and Brazil are also preparing for the World Cup, and to get games against World Cup teams prior to the tournament is one of our goals. Knowing the history with Brazil, games against them are always exciting for the players and fans.”
The USA will open the tournament Dec. 10 against China PR (4:20 p.m. ET), face Brazil on Dec. 14 (3:45 p.m.) and finish group play on Dec. 17 against Argentina (4:20 p.m.). The final match day on Dec. 21 will feature the top two teams after round-robin play squaring off for the tournament championship while the two countries that finished third and fourth will battle for third place. The USA, Brazil and China PR will be participating in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup next summer in Canada.
Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha is also one of five venues for the 2016 Olympics. With qualifying for that tournament beginning shortly, this trip will be valuable on multiple levels.
“It’s a chance to travel to a new environment and play international matches in unfamiliar territory, which is always valuable when getting ready for a World Cup,” said Ellis. “It’s pretty exciting to get to play in a World Cup stadium and many of our players have never played or even been to Brazil before. It’s a unique opportunity to go to a fantastic soccer country, have a great cultural experience and get four competitive games to end the year on a high note.”
A high-scoring forward in college, she converted to defender for the USA when she made her debut in 1997 ... Named captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2008 … Is one of two players from a small soccer school ever to make an impact on the National Team ... Formerly Christie Pearce, she switched the back of her jersey to her married name in 2004 … After the retirement of Kristine Lilly in 2010, she became the most capped player on the U.S. team and the only active player remaining from the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship team … Currently the most capped active player in the world … 2012: One of three U.S. players to play in all 32 matches, starting 31 … Has two assists during the year, upping her career total to 11 … Served her fifth year as captain and led the USA to its third consecutive Olympic gold medal … Played in her fourth Olympics, most of any U.S. player … One of three U.S. players to play every minute of all six games at the Olympics … Also played every minute of all five games at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament as the USA won the regional title in Vancouver, Canada … During 2012, she passed Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm to become the second most-capped player in U.S. and world history with a remarkable 276 games played and currently sits behind only Kristine Lilly (352) … 2011: Once again anchored the U.S. back line from her center back position, starting all 18 games she played while finishing third on the team in minutes played with 1,590 … Played in her fourth Women’s World Cup, joining just four other U.S. players to have accomplished that feat … She was the most capped player in the Women’s World Cup and ended the year with 244 games played, good for fourth all-time in U.S. history … Started all six games in Germany and was one of four players to play every minute … 2010: Gave birth to her second child, Reece, on March 6 and played her first club match exactly three months later on June 6 … Made her return to the U.S. lineup July 17, coming off the bench against Sweden in East Hartford, Conn., and slotted back into the starting lineup after that … Played 10 total games for the USA, starting nine, including all five at the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament, where she played every minute … Also played every minute of both legs of the Women’s World Cup playoff against Italy ….2009: Played every minute of all five matches she started before taking a break at the end of the summer due to her pregnancy … 2008: Earned her 200th cap against New Zealand in the final first-round match at the 2008 Olympics, becoming the sixth U.S. player to hit the 200-cap mark … Had a stellar year at centerback captaining the National Team, starting all 35 matches in which she played and setting a U.S. record for minutes played in a calendar year at 3,066 … She was the first player ever to play more than 3,000 minutes in a year … Missed some training time after recovering from surgery to remove her gall bladder in May but did not miss any game action … Started all six games at the 2008 Olympics, playing every minute … The Beijing Olympics was her sixth world championship for the USA … 2007: Started all 20 games in which she played, playing all but 59 minutes of those games … Was the most-capped defender and second most-capped player on the 2007 Women’s World Cup team … Started all six games of the Women’s World Cup, her third WWC tournament, but the first time she had played in every match of the competition … 2006: Made her return to the National Team and played against Norway at the Four Nations Tournament in China just 112 days after having a baby … Played in 20 games, starting 17 … 2005: Took the year off to have her first child, Rylie Rampone, who was born Sept. 29 … 2004: Had a stellar year for the USA, starting 26 of the 28 matches she played, including every minute of the five matches in which she appeared at the 2004 Olympics ... Became the fifth most-capped defender in U.S. history during the year … 2003: Continued her steady play after making a complete comeback from ACL surgery, starting 15 of the 17 games in which she played … Started all four Women’s World Cup matches in which she played, playing every minute of those games … Became the 15th U.S. player to earn 100 caps when she played against Brazil on July 13 in New Orleans … She captained the USA for the first time in that match … 2002: Called into two training camps but did not play for the USA while recovering from ACL surgery … 2001: Played in four matches for the USA during a limited schedule, starting two … Missed the 2001 Nike U.S. Women’s Cup after tearing her right ACL while playing for the New York Power … 2000: Was one of the USA’s most consistent players, earning the starting spot at right back … In a breakout year, she started 30 of the 33 matches in which she played, including all five games at the Olympics and played 2,540 minutes … Scored two of her four career goals, both against Iceland on April 5, in Davidson, N.C. … 1999: A member of the 1999 Women’s World Cup championship team, she played in one match against Korea DPR ... The versatile defender played in 18 matches for the USA in 1999, starting eight ... 1998: Solidified her position as a solid starter in the defense, starting 14 of her 19 matches ... Started both matches as the USA took the gold medal at the 1998 Goodwill Games ... 1997: Started 16 of 18 games for the USA in 1997, her first year with the National Team, finishing third on the team in minutes played ... First trained with the USA at training camp in San Diego in January ... Traveled with the USA to Australia in February of 1997, making her debut against the Matildas on Feb. 28 in Melbourne ... Played the second half in Melbourne, then all 180 minutes of matches in Bathurst and Canberra, and her international career was off and running ... Played right midfield in all three games at Nike U.S. Cup 1997, scoring the 100th U.S. Women’s Cup goal against Australia in Ambler, Pa. ... First Appearance: Feb. 28, 1997, vs. Australia ... First Goal: May 2, 1997, vs. Korea Rep.
2013: Allocated to her home state Sky Blue FC for the inaugural NWSL season … 2011: Signed with magicJack for the 2011 WPS season and played every minute of all 11 games she played in helping the club to a playoff berth … Had one assist … 2010: Played in 16 matches for Sky Blue, starting 14 … Named as a WPS All-Star Game reserve … 2009: Allocated to Sky Blue in her home state of New Jersey for the inaugural WPS season in 2009 … She helped lead underdog Sky Blue to the inaugural WPS championship, taking over as head coach with two games left during what was a tumultuous regular season and leading the team to one regular season win, the final playoff berth and three dramatic road wins in the playoffs to claim the title … Missed a few games early in the WPS season due to injury but ended up starting 14 games and was a WPS All-Star, starting in the All-Star Game … Named the WPS Sportswoman of the Year … Played a key role in shutting out a powerful Los Angeles Sol attack in the 1-0 WPS title game victory, all while almost three months pregnant … 2003: With the New York Power of the WUSA, started and played every minute of 18 matches, recording one assist … 2002: Recovered from ACL surgery at the end of the 2001 season to play 1,699 minutes over 19 matches, all of which she started … 2001: Was a founding player in the WUSA for the New York Power … Helped lead the Power to the WUSA playoffs before tearing her ACL just two minutes into the third to last match of the regular season … Started 18 matches for the Power and played every minute until her injury … 1998: Played several matches for the New Jersey Stallions of the W-League during the summer of 1998 … Youth: Played youth club with the Twin County Saints.
Full name is Christie Patricia Rampone (née Pearce) … Married Chris Rampone on Nov. 9, 2001, in Jersey City, N.J. … Graduated from Monmouth with a degree in special education and has her teaching credential ... Received an Honorary Doctorate from Monmouth in Public Services in May of 2005 … Also volunteered as a soccer coach and basketball coach at the middle school where she was student teaching ... Worked in classroom situations with communication-handicapped children ... A lifetime New Jersey resident, she moved to California for two years to train for the 2007 WWC and the 2008 Olympics but now is back home for good … Has a black Labrador named Tiger, who serves as her alarm clock and running buddy and a yellow lab named Murphy, who likes to escape from the backyard … Owns a self-storage facility in Manchester, N.J., called Airship Self Storage (call if you need a unit) … Is sometimes known as Captain America and the Ultimate Soccer Mom … Has a website at www.christierampone.com
Was a two-sport star at Monmouth University in New Jersey … Is the school’s all-time leading scorer in soccer … Was the starting point guard on the basketball team, but opted to miss numerous games during her senior season while training and traveling with the National Team ... Started all 80 games in her soccer career, scoring 79 career goals with 54 assists for 212 career points ... Was a First-Team All-Mid-Atlantic Region selection and 1995 and 1996 Northeast Conference Player of the Year in soccer ... Led Monmouth to a 51-11 mark over her last three seasons, including a 17-5 record as a senior ... Ranked third nationally in scoring as a senior with 75 points, fourth in goals with 29, seventh in assists with 17 and second in game-winning goals with nine ... Monmouth’s record holder for goals, assists and points in a season, she posted 10 multiple-goal games as a senior ... Finished eighth in the nation in 1995 with 19 goals and 15 assists for 53 points ... Co-captained the basketball team as a senior and was considered the quickest player on the team, a tenacious one-on-one defender and an excellent passer ... Played both the point guard and shooting guard positions for Monmouth ... Had a career-high 22 points vs. Rider during the 1995-96 season, picked up a career-high 13 assists vs. Marist that same season, and had a career-best 10 steals vs. Fairleigh Dickinson the year before ... Holds the school record for steals in a season (79) as well as in a game and a career ... Also played in two lacrosse games for Monmouth as a senior ... High School: Heralded as the finest athlete Ocean County has ever produced, earning all-league honors in basketball, soccer and field hockey ... As a senior at Point Pleasant Boro High School, she became the first person to lead the Shore Conference in scoring in soccer, basketball and field hockey ... Scored 2,190 career points in high school basketball ... Was named New Jersey Female Athlete of the Year by the New Jersey Nets as a senior.
Date of Birth
Jun 24, 1975
Point Pleasant, N.J.
Sky Blue FC