Lori Lindsey has been nicknamed “Lightning” on the U.S. Women’s National Team, not only because of the delectable alliteration, but also because her teammates like to make fun of her powerful yet compact running style. Perhaps it’s even an ode to her quick wit? In any event, what it certainly does not describe is her rise to the 2011 Women’s World Cup Team. That was slow and steady, a seven-year journey that saw hundreds of training sessions but precious few actual international appearances.
Now, though, Lindsey is a part of the USA’s Women’s World Cup history.
She made her Women’s World Cup debut on July 2, 2011, in a start against Colombia in the 3-0 U.S. win, playing all 90 minutes in place of Shannon Boxx, who was given the night off to rest her legs. Lindsey was an integral part of the midfield, providing a positive contribution on both sides of the ball that helped the U.S. earn their second shutout of the tournament.
“It was a dream come true,” said Lindsey. “It was so exciting. We won out first match against North Korea so that match against Colombia was important to solidify our place in the quarterfinals with a win. I wanted to come out and do well for the team. I wanted to play my game and accomplish the simple things in getting back passes and linking the forwards with the defenders. Overall, it was great and so fun to play in front of a sell-out crowd. We got the three points and the win from the game and that was special.”
Lindsey was definitely not shy in front of the cameras, performing the air guitar to teammate Megan Rapinoe’s brief rendition of “Born in the USA” after her goal gave the U.S. the 2-0 lead. Always known for her humor and originality among her teammates, Lindsey has finally made her mark on the U.S. Women’s National Team.
As a teenager, Lindsey was very active with the youth national teams, playing for the U.S. U-16, U-17 and U-21 teams. She was a member of the USA’s U-21 2001 Nordic Cup championship team in Norway.
She was first invited to Women’s National Team Residency Training Camp in 2004 after graduating from the University of Virginia two years prior. She earned her first cap for the team on July 24, 2005, against Iceland as a substitute. This one cap stood on her record through 2009.
In 2010, Lindsey finally broke through on the WNT with her best and by far her most active year, playing in 13 matches while starting six. She had a team-high seven assists, including three at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.
Her consistency and talents on the field and positive impact off the field on team chemistry led to her earning a spot on the Women’s World Cup roster.
“I was ecstatic,” said Lindsey on being named to the 21-player roster. “A lot of us have been a core group that had been playing together for the last couple of years. I wanted to be positive and hope that I made it, but whenever you are told that you are named to the roster, it’s so exciting. It’s been an amazing World Cup so far. It’s one of the best World Cups that has been put on in terms of talent since the start of women’s soccer. I’m thrilled to be named and am so proud.”
Lindsey played in the WUSA for the San Diego Spirit and Washington Freedom, but after the league folded, kept active playing for the Freedom in various forms, never letting her dream die of being a major contributor to the national team. When Women’s Professional Soccer started, Lindsey once again had the stage to show she was one of the top players in the USA, and that certainly helped her cement a place among Pia Sundhage’s regular call-ups.
“I had goals in my career, and I believed in myself,” said Lindsey. “I wanted to keep playing because I love the sport. It wasn’t just about playing for the national team, but to continue to improve as a player and to play at the highest level I could. I was fortunate with my time with the Washington Freedoms. It was a great training environment, and I’m so grateful to my coaches because I was able to continue to improve and play on a regular basis. I wanted to give myself the chance to play, and after I had been called back in, I felt ready and knew I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity and here I am today.”
Lindsey joked before the Women’s World Cup that she’s had so much training with the national team that she better be ready to play in the games. Against Colombia, she showed that she was.
“Each camp I attended I became more confident and comfortable,” said Lindsey. “I was trying to help the team in any way possible. I am always improving and getting consistently better. I was able to show what type of player I am. There are a lot of different players here which is special for our team. I wanted to display mine and show the qualities that I could bring to the table.”