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w/ WNT defender Jena Kluegel

Off-the-wall Questions and Answers, Queries and Anecdotes from Boston Breakers and U.S. WNT defender Jena Kluegel.

Kluegel, a native of Mahtomedi (pronounced Ma-toe-me-die), Minn., is one of a group of promising young players that is looking to crack that tough first team for the U.S. Women's National Team. Like much of Team USA, Jena was a four-year standout at the University of North Carolina, where she was a two-time All-American and helped the Tar Heels to a national championship in 2000. Before breaking through with the full team last year, Kluegel was a veteran of the Under-21, Under-17 and Under-16 Women's National Teams.

Center Circle: What's the toughest winter you can remember living up in Mahtomedi, Minnesota? How many shovels does your family own?
Jena Kluegel: "It's tough to remember because there have been so many brutal winters. But I would have to say it was one Halloween when I was seven or eight and a blizzard hit that night.  My costume was a '50s high school girl, but I had to wear a snow suit under my poodle skirt, and that really ruined the costume.  It really cut into my candy haul, and the candy I got was frozen.  Have you ever bit into a frozen Tootsie Roll?  I don't recommend it.  The Kluegel family has a bunch of shovels, but I like the snow blower.  It doesn't hurt the back as much."

CC: How big of a thrill was it to have a chance to play near your hometown last year when the Women's National Team played in Blaine (a 1-0 win over Canada on July 3, 2001) in front of a sell-out crowd of 15-plus thousand?
JK: "That was probably my biggest soccer thrill to date.  I never really get to go home, so that was awesome.  And every time I get to play for the national team, it's always a great experience.  So to combine the two was about as cool as it can get."

CC: You have 17 caps with the full U.S. Women's National Team after a solid career with the U.S. Under-21 WNT. Is it safe to assume that you have already become the full team's reigning "Hearts" champion?
JK: "I was definitely the Hearts champ on the U-21s, but don't tell (former U-21 teammate) Susan Bush that -- she's a Hearts snob.  I still have a ways to go to claim the title on the full national team."

CC: What kind of major political statements did you make back in the student government at Mahtomedi High School?
JK: "Well, the only reason I won vice president my junior year was that I was running against a really annoying guy that no one liked.  As far as politcal statements, I didn't make too many.  As far as fashion statements, well, I was no doubt the best dressed on Disco Day."

CC: Your father Rand, your mother Sue and your brother Travis have all been involved in track or cross country at some level, as were you. Is running just in the Kluegel blood?
JK: "To tell the truth, I didn't really like running.  I guess I just did it because I thought everyone else in my family liked it.  The real reason I ran track was because all the big discus thrower guys had yummy cookouts during the meets.  Jena loves BBQ."

CC: You were a three-time high school All-American soccer player for the Mahtomedi Zephyrs. What exactly is a Zephyr?
JK: "As everyone knows, it's the Greek God of the west wind.  He kind of looks like a Spartan, except much cooler."

CC: You were a member of the National Honor Society and a four-year honor roll student in high school. So impress us... what were your scores on the ACT or SAT?
JK: "Request denied.  Next question."

CC: You majored in Communications at UNC. If there was no professional soccer league, what would your dream job be in that field?
JK: "I would love to do color commentary or some sort of broadcasting. I think I would do a great job as the host for 'Wild on E!'. I think I could go around the world to all the hot party spots, get free swimwear, flirt with good-looking guys and get paid for it."

CC: So tennis is one of your hobbies. If you could pick a doubles partner to face Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova, who would it be?
JK: "I'll take Pete Sampras.  Great serve, great net game, looks great in tennis shorts."

CC: What's your favorite vacation spot and why?
JK: "So far, Montego Bay in Jamaica was really nice, but that was the first real vacation I've had in a while.  I think I might be able to top it in the coming years."

CC: What was the last concert you went to?
JK: "I saw Alicia Keys at Radio City Music Hall in New York City last February.  It was super fun.  She is so talented.  It was one of the best shows I've ever seen."

CC: Josh Hartnett or Ryan Phillipe?
JK: "I'll take both, please."

CC: Do blondes really have more fun?
JK: "As I have brown hair, I can't really comment, but us non-blondes just like to let them think they do."

Table of Contents
Armchair Midfielder (Tuning Up for the Cup)
2) Word Association (w/ MNT defender Tony Sanneh)
3) What I Did on My Spring Break (w/ U-21 WNT midfielder Joanna Lohman)
4) Queries and Anecdotes (w/ WNT defender Jena Kluegel)
5) Superstar!!! (w/ WNT midfielder/forward Shannon MacMillan)
6) Mark That Calendar (MNT vs. Ireland -- April 17)
7) Point-Counterpoint (w/ journalists Michael Lewis and Grahame Jones)
8) "You Don't Know Jack (Marshall)" (General MLS trivia)

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