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Quote Sheet: Road To The Olympics Conference Call With Head Coach Pia Sundhage and WNT Captain Christie Rampone

U.S. WNT Head Coach Pia Sundhage

On the play of Lindsey Tarpley so far this year:
“Tarp has been playing as attacking midfielder and combined in the midfield with the forwards. She scored goals in China and did very well, and she had a pretty good tournament in the Algarve Cup as well. She is the one that is attacking from the midfield and if we play a flat 4-4, she is not playing yet. I see her as an attacking midfielder and she’s doing very well.”

On where Lindsay Tarpley will play on the team:
“I think it’s too early to tell right now. We have a lot of options. We try different things in the attack and she is part of that attack each time, depending on how we play. The best part of Lindsey Tarpley is that she can play both as an attacking midfielder but also as a forward. We’ll have a couple of games to try a couple different things.”

On trying to not be over confident going into qualifying:
“From the very beginning I’ve said it’s important to enjoy every single moment and minute, and don’t take anything for granted. For me being in Sweden and China, I’ve not been in that many (situations) where we were winning and winning, so I remind them to first try and win the next game and, secondly, enjoy that moment. I think it’s easy and it’s important you do you best every day and enjoy it.”

On whether they would rather the tournament be a round-robin:
“I hadn’t thought about that because I have a fact in front of me and that is a game. So the way it’s set up, and again, I’m looking at winning the next game. Right now, I don’t have any preference. I just want to prepare the team to win the next game.”

On Jamaica and Mexico:
“We have a couple of days here in L.A. to prepare for qualifying. Meanwhile I will make sure we know everything about Jamaica and Mexico. We’ve been scouting, of course. The U.S. has played against Mexico several times. We did that with the Chinese team last year. So we will gather all the information and make sure we know what kind of opponent we will meet. The biggest thing, though, is to find the style we want to play. We’ve tried different things now in China and the Algarve Cup, so it’s more about us and preparing for the qualification.”

On the different style of play:
“We talk a lot about the attacking style. We talk about the rhythm of the game, to keep possession more and to find the right moment to penetrate. I’ve said to the players and myself, I have to be brave, the coaching staff has to be brave and the players have to be brave to knock it around in the midfield until we find that right moment and to be patient. Everybody needs to be comfortable with the ball and take that chance. I think everybody has done a great job so far but there’s still a lot of work to do before we take this attacking game to the next level.”

On how often she has been able to return to Sweden since becoming coach of the U.S. WNT:
“I’ve been home to Sweden, this is my second time. Instead of going directly to Portugal, I swing by Sweden just for four hours. Right now I’m in Sweden but I go back to Los Angeles tomorrow. It’s life. We don’t have more than, dark, I’d say six hours, then it’s light. It’s pretty nice in the morning, I have to say that.”

On whether she plans to spend time in Sweden with her family and join the team for camps before the Olympics:
“The fact is, if you want to prepare for the Olympics, there are so many things going on. The only time I’ll go back to Sweden again is just before we play Norway and Sweden again in Europe. I go a couple of days early to Sweden and I stay a couple of days after. Then it’s all about the Olympics.”

U.S. Defender Christie Rampone

On the balance of being captain but also a mother:
“So far for me the balance has been great. Being a mom and playing a sport I love has been great. Rylie has come pretty much everywhere with me and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. She won’t be coming to qualifying with me. I’m going to focus a little bit more on qualifying and getting to the Olympics, so she will stay home. Our journey together has been great and I think she’s brought the best out of me, especially now being captain. She allowed me to interact with my teammates a lot better and she is definitely a joy around the team. It’s a great balance for me, and I enjoy both being a mom and a captain.”

On if Rylie will go to Beijing
“If I make the team, she will be going to Beijing but not with the team. She’ll be going over with my husband.”

On trying to not be over confident going into qualifying:
“I don’t think this team has ever gone into any tournament overconfident. You have to take each step from the first day of practice, all the way leading up to that first game, which for us is against Jamaica, and that’s our focus right now. You have to look back to last qualifying with Canada, where they were coming in against Mexico and did not qualifying. You have to keep that in the back of your head and always remind yourself you can’t go into any game overconfident. The game starts off 0-0, and then you take it from there for 90 minutes. I think we’ve prepared hard and the team is looking better each day, so with a couple more training sessions under our belt and heading into Mexico I think we’re prepared, but we’re definitely not overconfident.”

On whether Rylie has started to play any sports, including soccer:
“She definitely is kicking and dribbling the soccer ball around. She understands that mommy goes to soccer and she goes to training and as soon as I put on the jersey with the patch she knows that it’s mommy’s time. But she definitely also is throwing the ball a lot. She’s got potential as of right now.”

On the longest period of time that she has been apart from Riley:
“The longest was when we left for the World Cup to go over to China. We were apart for two weeks. (This time) it’s going to be about the same amount of time.

On how she keeps in touch with Rylie when she’s away:
“We Skype a lot on the computer so she can see me. It’s what we do with my husband Chris a lot so he gets to see her every day and keep that communication alive. We Skype a lot and talk on the phone.”

On being captain and how that has impacted her game and confidence:
“My role as captain has been great. I definitely have a lot more confidence. And I love using my voice more. I’ve listened during a lot of my career to some great leaders in Julie Foudy and Carla Overbeck and Kristine Lilly. Now it’s my turn to bring everything I’ve learned from them onto this team and try to teach this team what it takes to win. I love being in the center of the back because I can control and lead the team and see what I see out there and feel the game. I’ve been enjoying it and the team has been amazing with the changes that have occurred from January with Pia and our different style and everyone is embracing it. I’m really proud of the team for how we’re playing and how everyone is taking a leadership role and trying to help this team accomplish its goals and that starts with qualifying.”

On the different style of play:
“The style has been a change but it’s been great. I love the way we’re playing right now and we’re only going to get better. We know we have that freedom to play the way we see, feeling the game and being creative and most importantly keeping the ball and keeping possession, and dictating when the game needs us to go forward rather than forcing the issue. I also like the fact that if it doesn’t work one time, Pia still encourages us to keep trying and maybe if it doesn’t work two or three times, change it up. But the fact that we have that green light to be creative and build that confidence in ourselves as a team and not always looking towards Pia for that confidence and I think that’s helping the team right now.”

On who watches Rylie while she’s playing and what it’s like traveling with a small child:
“Travel day is, I have to admit, is the toughest day. Especially when I’m traveling alone meeting up with the team. Security is tough. When you’re traveling with all her necessities and trying to get her out. The hours are tough sometimes. Sometimes she’s sleeping and I have to wake her up to get her up to go through security, and you know how that is. I’m very lucky with Rylie. From day one she’s been a great traveler. Every flight she pretty much sleeps the entire way. The issue is just trying to get her back on whatever time zone we are in. But she’s been great with all the travel stuff. As far as who watches her, we have a nanny that travels with us. We’re so fortunate that U.S. Soccer allows that to happen because it makes my life easier because I’m able to do both. We have someone who travels with us and watches them during training times or meeting times or whenever we definitely need a break. If we’re training too hard and I need an extra hour, the nanny will watch them.”

On what is the toughest thing about being captain:
“I would say there’s nothing that’s tough about being captain. Everything is for a reason and for a purpose and I’ve enjoyed every part of it. Yeah, some things may be harder than others to handle but that’s part of it and that’s part of what I enjoy. I’m just trying to get this team ready for qualifying and everything I can do to get us there is my mission now.”