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11 Questions with Lindsay Tarpley

Lindsay Tarpley is having the best scoring year of her international career for the U.S. Women’s National Team, having pounded in nine goals so far in 2008. She has played both attacking midfield and on the left flank in 2008 and as always, her versatility and craftiness in front of the goal are proving valuable assets to the U.S. attack. Just 24-years-old, she is closing in on 100 caps for the USA and has moved into the top-15 on the list of all-time U.S. goal scorers. As the small-town girl from Kalamazoo, Michigan continues to cement her status as one of the best players of her generation, sat down with Tarpley in Seoul, South Korea to discuss the evolution of the National Team in 2008, her favorite snacks, and why the Pacific Ocean is a bit different from Lake Michigan. It’s been a great year for you so far and you’ve scored goals in a bunch of different ways…rebounds, headers, shots from outside. What’s been the key to your goal scoring?

Lindsay Tarpley: “The biggest key is playing freely and having fun. I play my best when I’m not thinking too much on the field and I just let things happen. We all train so much and so hard that when you get into those goal scoring situations, it’s a matter of letting your body do what you’ve trained it to do.” The U.S. attack has also been in sync this year, scoring multiple goals in 12 of the 14 games, including scoring four or more goals in seven games. Can you talk about the evolution of this group of attacking players?

Tarp: “I didn’t even realize any of those stats, but what’s so exciting is seeing how much better we’ve gotten. A lot of the goals we are scoring are coming off great buildups and passing sequences and it takes the commitment of the entire team to make that happen. It’s a powerful thing when everyone is on the same page and helping each other.” You’ve played a lot of forward for the National Team, but also quite a bit at attacking midfielder. Of late, you have been playing wing midfield, something you’ve rarely done, yet you’ve scored three goals from that position. How’s the transition been?

Tarp: “I think the transition has been pretty smooth. It’s a matter of being confident, knowing where my teammates are and reading the game. There are different situations I might see on the wing, but when it comes down to it, soccer is soccer, and no matter where you are on the field, similar things happen.” What has been better this year…your goal celebration or pre-game dance moves?

Tarp: “Pre-game dances moves for sure. Or at least I’ve made the biggest improvement there.” The U.S. has played some exciting matches this year so far. What has been your favorite game?

Tarp: “The Canada game we recently played in D.C. was one of my favorites. As a team, we played well. I always had more than one option. I felt connected with my teammates and we all felt really in sync out there. I thought we played at a high level and scored some great goals.” You are closing in on 100 caps, amassed in just six years. Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday that you were playing in your first cap against Japan in 2003?

Tarp: “Yes, I remember that game perfectly. I was so nervous. I remember entering the game. I remember my first touch, crosses… I remember that game like it was yesterday. Has it really been six years? I guess I have graduated college, gotten married and I am almost 25.” You’ve been living in Los Angeles for quite a while now after spending most of your life in the relatively small towns of Kalamazoo, Michigan and Chapel Hill, N.C. Are you a SoCal girl now?

Tarp: “I’m always going to be a Midwest girl at heart, but to be honest, I’ve really enjoyed living in Southern California with my husband. I love the weather. I live about a block from the beach and really enjoy the atmosphere of the beach community. I’ll never get used to a six-lane 405 Freeway with bumper-to-bumper traffic, but overall I’ve adapted much better than I thought I would.” You seem to always eat sliced apple with peanut butter at team meals. Is that your favorite snack while on the road?

Tarp: “It’s definitely a go-to, but I’m always up for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cereal and of course ice cream, or a nice dessert. Tonight, we had brownie bites with the ice cream. That was good. I also really enjoy an ice blended from Coffee Bean.” Provided you are named to the final Olympic roster, do you have family members planning on going to China?

Tarp: “If I make the roster, my parents and my younger brother Josh are going. And my fingers are still crossed for my husband B.J. to make it. My parents have been at every world championship, national championship and even state championship that I’ve played in. They are my biggest fans, along with my husband.” What’s your favorite thing to do during training?

Tarp: “I love finishing drills. I really like the repetition so when it gets to games, hopefully I’m comfortable in any situation no matter how the ball gets to me or where I am on the field.” This is the last tournament competition before the Olympics and simulates the first round of a world championship. What things does the team want to work on during the Peace Queen Cup?

Tarp: “Since we’ve spent so much time together this year, now it’s a matter of fine tuning things. We’ve been fortunate to experience a lot of different situations, with training camps and tournaments, and now it’s a matter of playing games and developing that rhythm that we can produce for 90 minutes."