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Defender Christie Rampone Named Captain of the U.S. Women's National Team

CHICAGO (January 13, 2008) -- U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team head coach Pia Sundhage has named defender Christie Rampone as the team’s new captain.

Rampone, who is the most capped player on the USA’s roster for the 2008 Four Nations Tournament in China, has played 176 games for the USA. She succeeds Kristine Lilly, who has stepped away from soccer to have a baby.

“Christie has great experience on this team and has the respect of every player for what she has accomplished and how she conducts herself on and off the field,” said Sundhage. “She is a mother and has a great feel for how to be a leader and a teacher. I think it is a great choice for our team.”

Rampone has quietly built one of the most impressive international careers in U.S. history, starting 148 of the 176 games she has played while appearing in the past three Women’s World Cups and two Olympic Games. She remains the only player in history to make an impact on the National Team after coming out of a small soccer school, that being Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey.

She debuted for the USA in 1997 as Christie Pearce on a trip to Australia and has been a fixture on U.S. rosters ever since, except for 2002, when she was recovering from an ACL injury suffered during WUSA play and in 2005, when she took the year off to have her daughter Rylie, now two years and three months old.

“I’m so honored to be entrusted with this responsibility by Pia,” said Rampone. “I have so much respect and admiration for the past captains and to be placed in that group is one of the biggest honors in my career. I look forward to the year ahead and using my past experiences in helping lead this team to achieve our goals together. However, we all know that everyone on this team is a leader and it will take the entire team working together to get where we want to be. ”

While many players have worn the captain’s band for the USA during matches, numerous ones in their 100th caps, Rampone becomes just the ninth official captain of the U.S. National Team in the 23-year history of the program, joining Denise Bender, April Heinrichs, Lori Henry, Michelle Akers, Carla Overbeck, Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett and Lilly.