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11 Questions with Christie Rampone

U.S. captain Christine Rampone was been a steady presence on the U.S. back line for most of her 13 years on the Women’s National Team, interrupted twice, of course, by pregnancies and the births of her two daughters. With 217 career caps, she is one of the most decorated players in U.S. history and is now eyeing the end of her career, but not before some important work is done. Rampone sat down with to answer 11 questions on her career, her kids and what she keeps in her hotel refrigerator. You are rounding out your comeback from the birth of your second child. Has it been easier than the first?

Christie Rampone: “No, not really. I was four years older this time and the second pregnancy was a bit difficult. I was on bed rest for a while and the baby weight didn’t come off quite as easily. When I started the process of getting back into training, I wasn’t totally on my own schedule like I was with Rylie. It was partly my own and partly Sky Blue. I didn’t have enough time in the day to accomplish what I needed to outside of regular training, due to the schedule and being pretty darn tired after two hours of practice.” Did you ever feel like yourself during WPS season?

CR: “There were little moments where I felt myself, but overall, no. I’m still trying to get back there. It just takes time to get used to the speed of play and the timing of my position, knowing when to hold and when to drop. The fitness is always something you can build on and improve. I’m fit right now, but just not game fit where I’d like to be.” Sky Blue changed coaches, again, during the WPS season. Did you think for a moment that you would have to take over, again?

CR: “No. That wouldn’t have been fair to my teammates, myself, my husband or my children. Last year was close to one of the most incredible years of my life, but I will never be a player-coach again, especially while pregnant. It was good while it lasted and I’d like to coach, but after I hang up my cleats.” You are one of the most veteran players on the team and have loads of international experience. What kind of messages do you want to make sure you impart to the younger players?

CR: “I want them to enjoy the game for what it is, but also to understand how to manage their individual body and mind-frame. Don’t compare yourself to the player next to you, just try to be the best teammate you can, understand your role and do everything possible to maximize your abilities both on and off the field. If you are in national team camp, you are here for a reason.” You have played on the national team for 13 years. You are 35 now, so is it safe to assume this will be your last run at a Women’s World Cup/Olympics cycle?

CR: “That would be a very safe assumption. It feels good to be at this point in my career. I’m fighting to get my spot back after coming back from pregnancy and I want to try to be a positive asset to the team for the next two years. I’m committed and dedicated to making both qualifying teams and the World Cup and Olympic Teams, but also to remain a productive teammate and player.” Your daughter Rylie scored four goals in her U-5 soccer game the other day. Are you doing anything to “encourage” her to play soccer?

CR: “No, not at all. I want her to play what she wants to play and whatever she asks to do, I try to sign her up for that activity. She’s also doing ballet and gymnastics. I do want her to complete the full season or class for something she starts and then we can see if she still wants to do it. One thing I want to instill in her is to never quit.” Let’s talk Women’s World Cup qualifying. What is the mood of the team right now? It seems like forever ago that the team was qualifying for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

CR: “The mood is positive and serious and the same time. Everyone is getting back into national team mode and training and waiting for the camp to get filled up with all the players from WPS. We have two great games against China, take a little break, then head into qualifying to take care of business.” You are a mother of two and a full-time professional soccer player. With all the training, body maintenance and travel that goes along with that, what is your guilty pleasure?

CR: “Chocolate. Momma’s gotta have her chocolate. My favorite are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I put them in the fridge and after a hard day of training, and being a mom, I can indulge in a piece of chocolate before bed. Don’t let our fitness coach know.” Your daughter Reece is about seven months old. Is there any baby food that you don’t mind taking a taste of?

CR: “All the fruit tastes really good. Especially the bananas. I am known to take the last lick of the spoon.” The team did physical testing at the beginning of camp and once again, this time at age 35, you were one of the fastest players. How do you keep pushing back Father Time?

CR: “All I can say is good genes. Thanks, mom and dad.” You were born and raised in New Jersey and played all sorts of sports growing up. Was there a New York professional sports team you wanted to play for when you were a little girl?

CR: “I started playing basketball when I was nine, as soon as I could heave the ball up to the rim. I played a lot of other sports, as well. But I was always more into competing and supporting my own teams than watching others play. A bad day for me was a rainy day when I couldn’t go outside to play. Although, it would have been cool to be the shortest point guard in Knicks history.”