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Quote Sheet: U.S. WNT Captain Kristine Lilly Discusses the 2007 U.S. Women's World Cup Roster

U.S. Women's National Team captain Kristine Lilly was one of the first 18 players selected to the USA's 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup roster. She discussed the roster selection in a conference call with U.S. media.

U.S. Women’s National Team Captain Kristine Lilly

On going back to China for her fifth FIFA Women’s World Cup after playing her first one there:
KL: “Making a World Cup team is an honor. It’s something that we’re all shooting for. It’s not any different from the first time I made a World Cup team to this one, it still feels great and it makes all the hard work feel even better. And, on returning to China, ironic, who knows? Twenty years later we’re going back. I remember in 1991 they did an incredible job hosting the first World Cup. The stands were packed. Our final against Norway, I think, was 64,000, so I’m sure we’re going to have great crowds over there. The Chinese team is going to have great support from their country and I hope that we’ll have some Americans come over to support us.”

On whether, in 1991, she could have envisioned making five World Cup teams:
KL: “Thinking back to ’91, I didn’t really know what I was a part of and to think that I’m going for my fifth is really hard to believe. This is something that has become a part of my life. This team has become a part of my life. It’s something I’ve dedicated my time to, and to know that I’m on my fifth World Cup team makes me feel good because I know that I’m still contributing and I’m still able to compete. Whether it’s in China, or anywhere, you’re still going back to another World Cup and we’re fighting to be No. 1 in the world and that’s what I really want.”

On how she has seen the young players develop over the last two years:
KL: “I think what’s been great is that we’ve had the opportunity to train together for the last two years and that’s something that is priceless for us right now. We’ve been in residency camps for the last two years, we’ve had big competitions in China and with Algarve, Peace Cup, so we’ve had good competition as well and that’s enabled these players to have some time on the field, to build some confidence and to start stepping up. You’re starting to see it at a more consistent level right now, which is exactly when we need it.”

On Kate Markgraf’s development:
KL: “I’ve had the opportunity to play with Kate with the National Team and also with the Boston Breakers and I think the Boston Breakers helped her become more of a leader because we needed some leadership to help with me. I knew she would come back from pregnancy, I knew it would take time, but now seeing that little fire in her, that little fight, that she didn’t necessarily feel confident in the beginning but now that’s all coming back. That’s when I know that Kate’s back. We’re glad she’s back and she’s going to lead the back line there along with the others and add that extra fire that we’ve been waiting to see again.”

On Kate Markgraf’s comeback and what it’s been like for some of the soccer moms:
KL: “Hats off to all of them. Joy (Fawcett) was the one who started all this, having kids and playing. She’s done it, Carla (Overbeck) has done it, and we’ve had players who have come through and have done it and now it’s these three. It’s incredible. I can’t really understand how they’ve done it because when I’m leaving practice I want to go sit on my bed and they’re playing with their kids and running around. They do have a lot of help. I think it’s almost easier on the road because they have all these teammates that are willing to play in the hallway and half of us are kids at heart so it makes it a little bit easier. It does take a lot of work. To see what they’ve done to get through it and to see where all three of them are at right now makes me real proud of what they have done and I know they can only get better, too.”

On seeing the fire back in Kate Markgraf:
KL: “Anyone who has played with Kate or against Kate, you know when the fire’s back. You can see it in her eyes, you can hear it in her voice, and that means, also, that she’s feeling confident. Put that all together and that adds a lot to our team. She’s the voice from behind and I’m the voice from the front and you put that all together, it does help quite a bit. It’s still time for Kate and I think she was great in the process; she didn’t push herself, she didn’t get down on herself, she went through the stages. Now I see where she’s at right now and now she even has a higher level for herself. She’s setting a higher level for herself to get even better by the time the World Cup comes.

On Lindsay Tarpley:
KL: “Tarp is the type of player that you don’t see her doing all the work. She’s out there actually before practice and sometimes after practice working on little things. In 2004 she was working on power shots and of course she scores the first goal against Brazil in the final that was a long shot from about 25. She’s that type of player that’s going to do whatever it takes to be on the field and when she’s on the field she’s going to use her strengths as best as she can and she’ll always be working for you. I see, for her, a very long career with the National Team.”

On whether there was any publicity when the 1991 U.S. Women’s World Cup team was selected:
KL: “I’m trying to remember where I was and I don’t know if I can. There wasn’t much publicity of the announcement. One thing I can remember was when we were over there or just before we went over, USA Today did a little piece and had all our headshots, and I thought that was pretty cool. That was pretty much my first remembrance of it. Back then I didn’t know what I was a part of. I knew it was the World Cup but I didn’t know what that meant at the time. After winning and being a part of it, I knew it was something we needed to share. At that moment there were only a couple reporters, I knew it was going to be a long journey to get people to know, but now look where we are: conference call announcing the team. Now people know who we are and know about the World Cup. It’s been a nice long transition.”

On how she is approaching the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup and whether it will be her last one:
KL: “Well, thinking I’m not probably going to last four more years, I can guarantee this will be my last world cup. That’s one thing I can say. But going into this, it’s not about me, it’s about this team, and it’s about this group of players who have trained for the last two and a half years for this event and the World Cup is a big deal, it’s something that any soccer player wants to shoot for and for me to join this team and go over to China and fight to be the best in the world is something I’m grateful for, and what I really want is these players to know what it feels like to be a champion, because when you get that inside you it keeps the fire burning and it makes you want more and that’s what’s really had me coming back for so many years and I’m glad to be a part of this one.”

On whether she has set a timetable for retirement:
KL: “I haven’t (set a timetable), I’ve been telling everyone I’m going to get through this World Cup and see what happens. There are so many different factors going on, besides my physical and mental mind, being married, we’ve got the league coming back, the Olympics are a year off, there’s a lot of different factors in it so I want to make sure I don’t jump the gun and make any decisions before I really feel it in my heart, and I’ll take some time after the World Cup to see where I’m at.”

On whether the U.S. WNT is the favorite heading into the World Cup:
KL: “I would like to think that people worry about playing us. When I look at the World Cup, it’s such an event and you do have the top teams in the world competing in something, but it’s a whole new arena. It’s about getting out of your group and then it’s the knockout round. So, every game matters, every minute matters and that’s why your preparation is so important because you have to make sure your team is ready.”

On Lori Chalupny:
KL: “Well, looking back when I first made the team, I was scared out of my mind, so I hope they all feel that way, and I think its healthy. I think its respectful as well, but I think Lori coming in, she reminds me a little bit of myself when I was younger on the team, she’s quiet, but when she’s comfortable she speaks her mind, and I think the team gives her that opportunity. She’s a hard worker, she’s a fighter, she has an incredible shot, and she’s grown into her spot right now, and she’ll continue to grow, and she’s making an impact for us, and she scored a couple goals too, so I think adding that to our midfield with her and Carli Lloyd, who can finish, make us even more dangerous, and that’s something exciting for us, and teams are going to have to worry about that, but she’s done a great job and there’s so much more she can do as well.”

On Stephanie Lopez:
KL: “It’s interesting that you bring up Steph. We roomed together in April back when we were playing in Boston, and I got to know her a little better, and it was actually a great time for me, she was teaching me some things she’s learning in college, so that was good, but as a player, it’s interesting to see the younger players now, because when I was coming in I didn’t have the confidence that they have, a lot of these players have been playing on Under-16, 19 or Under-20, they’ve been in international events already, not at the highest level, but they’ve been there, so that’s huge, that helps them out a lot. It is a whole new level coming to the women’s side, but Steph’s done a great job, she’s very composed on the ball, she’s probably one of our more comfortable attacking defenders out of the back, she’s got a left foot, she’s got a right foot, and I think one of her things that she just needs to get harder with is just physical, but that should come, she’s smart enough to use that to overcome her little weakness of her strength, and I think she’s done a great job, and like I said, she’s got a long career, she’s young and it’s great to see her making an impact now.”

On how the younger players and older players interact:
KL: “I think for the most part, on any team, you have your friends that you hang out a little bit more with, but for the most part we all get along great, and having the kids around with the three moms, two of them are the older women on the team and it brings the younger people together and the older people and we all get to act young, so we have a good balance, and that’s what I learned with this team, that there’s always different natures, there’s always different interests but we all come together because we all have a similar goal, and that’s to win the World Cup.”

On what has kept her motivated and going strong over the years:
KL: “Winning health. I would say that’s probably a factor. It’s a great feeling, but this team is so great. I never, in the beginning, imagined that it would become so important in my life, but I think, not only do I get to play soccer but I also get to make a difference. As I’ve gotten older, I realized the impact that I do have on the field but also the impact that we, as a group, have off the field. When you get young kids coming up to you and saying they’re No. 13 or their favorite color is red and they can share something with you, that means a lot. If you combine all of those things and it’s a great gig. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done. I’m going to do it as long as I can. Everyone that has ever retired in any sport, I think, always says, ‘Play as long as you can,’ because you do miss it. I think the thing that the players that have retired, what they miss is just the camaraderie, hanging out with the people, the locker room, the good times. The soccer stuff, I think, comes second but the soccer stuff enables us to have all that. It’s been incredible and I’m going to hang on for as long as I can.”

On Marci Jobson:
KL: “I played against Marci when she was at the (Atlanta) Beat and somehow we were always battling each other. She’s got that fighting mentality, not only to fight to win the ball but also with her work. We have fitness tests and she just gritted it out to be in with the pack. It’s that work ethic that sets the example and it shows, ‘I may not be starting but I’m going to work my butt off for your guys as much as I can.’ Marci believes in that very strongly in her heart and she adds a lot to our team because of that.”