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Back In The Game: WNT Veterans Return

When you were in middle school and came back from summer vacation, your teacher would ask you to write an essay on “What I did on my summer vacation.” The four veterans who were given January off from National Team duty by head coach Greg Ryan certainly weren’t on vacation, but’s Center Circle thought we’d ask them what they did with their month away from the team anyway. The consensus? It was a perfect time to refresh, reenergize and refocus for the run to the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. This is what Kristine Lilly, Christie Rampone, Aly Wagner and Abby Wambach had to say about their breaks after they rejoined the team during training camp at The Home Depot Center to prepare for the 2007 Algarve Cup.

Kristine Lilly
Career caps: 319
Primary city during break: Boston, Mass.
“I actually trained a lot. I had a six-week program with two hours every day consisting of weight training, running and the last two weeks were ball skills. I also went to physical therapy and took care of a few aches and pains, which was great for my body. But for the most part, I was home. I spent a lot of time with my husband and my dog and just felt relaxed. I could get a rhythm and focus on being at home, eating right, training right and doing my everyday things. I was definitely in a good place. I traveled just once, and that was to the Super Bowl. I also fixed up my house a little bit. I got some new bookshelves and donated some clothes to charity. Dave and I actually went out to dinner at a comedy club one night. The biggest things were that I got to stay home and cook dinner and that I got to see his family and my family. It was an awesome month.”

Christie Rampone
Position: Defender
Career caps: 156
Primary city during break: Manhattan Beach, Calif.
“I was in a six-week program working out with Abby Wambach and other athletes at Athletes’ Performance in Los Angeles. It was a two hour session, one on the field, one in the weight room, five days a week. I trained with some other professional athletes, baseball players, soccer players and football players. I got to see how they work, and seeing how other athletes train in their off-season was interesting. A big thing about the month was finding time for myself. I met with a nutritionist and figured out that I wasn’t getting enough food as I was more concerned about (17-month old baby) Riley’s nutrition than my own. I was able to cook dinners every night to have more fuel to train every day. Even though it was a break, I worked hard to get back. After that six weeks, I feel I’m able to understand my strengths and weakness better. I just got to spend a lot of time with my husband Chris and family and enjoyed the time that we had, not stressing like I would if I were only to be home only one or two days. I didn’t travel, we just stayed in California and it’s been the first time we’ve been a family in a while. We went to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. We went on some bike rides on the Strand in Manhattan Beach. It was relaxing, refreshing and invigorating. But at the same time, I was very excited to come back into camp.”

Aly Wagner
Career caps: 109
Primary city during break: San Jose, Calif.
“I spent New Year’s sitting on the floor of our living room with my husband and two dogs just watching the New Year’s festivities on TV and watching the ball drop. It was the best New Year’s ever. In the month of January, I started my training program, doing fitness in the morning with a fitness coach and then I would do some shooting in the afternoon. At night, I’d go to the gym and do recovery or some fun classes like yoga or stuff for my core. The month actually went by pretty quickly, but it was great being home. Every morning we would wake up and go get coffee. I just did one soccer appearance and at the beginning of February, my husband and I went to Vancouver, B.C. for four days and had a great time. We did things like watch the Golden Globes at a dinner party that our friends had although I really did feel like we were on the go for most of the month. The break was really good for me, though. Not since we won the National Championship in college have I felt this focused, fit, committed and excited to do what I have to do to become the best player I can and help this team win the World Cup. I have a renewed energy and spirit and total commitment to achieving this goal.”

Abby Wambach
Career caps: 84
Primary city during break: Hermosa Beach, Calif.
“I just relaxed, recovered and rehabbed my ankle. I worked out at Athletes’ Performance and enjoyed the time off with my loved ones. I also really enjoyed watching the younger generation win the tournament in China. I went to the Super Bowl and sat in the Gatorade suite next to Dwyane Wade. It was pouring outside, so we were happy to be in a suite. When I was home, it was pretty much just me in my apartment so I also did a lot of soul searching and I had a lot of time to myself. The month really gave me the ability to recharge my battery for another year. For me, it was the ultimate rest period because I needed that recharge for what’s to come, and hopefully that’s helping the team win a World Cup. It was a necessary step on the path to that goal.”