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Postcard from Portugal - Kristine Lilly

Every several days, a player from the U.S. Women's National Team will send out an e- postcard from Albufeira, Portugal, where the U.S. team is based for the 2002 Algarve Cup.  The USA begins the tournament tomorrow, Friday, March 1 against Sweden.

Today's postcard is from midfielder Kristine Lilly.
Height: 5-4  
Born: July 22, 1971
Hometown: Wilton, Conn.
Club: Boston Breakers

First of all, I have to give a HUGE shout-out to my cousin Patty, who works for the airline we flew over here, for getting Julie Foudy and I upgraded to First Class for our flight from Newark, N.J. to Lisbon, Portugal.  All I have to say was that my "cankles" (the really, really fat, swollen ankles that I get on LONG flights), were much skinnier as I was able to lie almost prone for most of the flight. 

If you can believe this, it has been over 10 years since Julie and I have roomed together on national team trip, and after spending six days with her here, I can go another 10.  Just kidding, Jules!  I must say things are a bit different since the last time we roomed together.  When we were younger, we would always sleep a little bit in the time between breakfast and when we leave for training.  Now, we both spend those whole 45 minutes stretching the old bodies.  Another revelation that came to us during stretching, e-mailing and snacking that we have been doing in our room is that we've been on this team almost as long as Heather O'Reilly has been alive.  Heather is 17 and the youngest player on this roster.  The poor kid from New Jersey didn't put on any sunscreen on the first day and it's hot here in the Algarve.  She has had a rosy red face for the last four days and us old ladies are trying to teach her the value of sunscreen and soft skin.

I have to send another shout-out to the "Three Knee Amigas," Brandi Chastain, Mia Hamm and Carla Overbeck, who are all recovering from knee surgery.  I hope you all are back on your feet soon and we miss you lots.  And yes, to honor your shopping tradition, I have already purchased pottery.

We play Sweden tomorrow to open the tournament.  We haven't played them in a while and the last time we faced them with the veterans was here at the Algarve Cup two years ago.  It was a battle and we won 1-0.  I expect them to have a very strong team this year and we know they are always very organized.  We are really focused on coming out hard in our first game and taking it to them and hopefully setting the tone for the tournament.

Bye for now,

P.S.: Hi Schwed, mom and Bill, Scott and Kimberly and Karen and dad and all my Boston Breakers.  See you soon.

Kristine Lilly will likely play in her 233rd match for the U.S. Women's National Team tomorrow, the most international soccer matches ever by a man or woman for their country.  In the history of the Women's National team program, only Mia Hamm and Michelle Akers have scored more goals than Lilly, and only Hamm has more assists.  Lilly will return to her WUSA club, the Boston Breakers, after this tournament, but is not done with Europe for the summer, as the Breakers will travel to Spain in late March for some pre-season training.