11 Questions with Lori Lindsey
The WUSA gave opportunities to several players to make their marks internationally and now the WPS is doing the same. Coming off an excellent season for the Washington Freedom, midfielder Lori Lindsey got her first call-up to the WNT in more than two years, joining the U.S. team for a 12-day training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Lindsey sat down with ussoccer.com to answer 11 Questions, ranging from her goals for this camp, her thoughts on the first season of the WPS and how she’d like to keep in touch with the game when her playing days are over.
1. First off, you got selected in the WPS Expansion Draft on Sept. 15, becoming the first-ever pick for the Philadelphia Independence. Your thoughts? There must be some mixed emotions?
Lori Lindsey: “Actually, this could be a good opportunity at this time in my career. I’ve been with the Freedom for six years (in the WUSA, W-League and WPS), and I’ve developed great relationships with the organization and the coaches, but maybe it’s just a good time for my development to go play in a different environment. Everyone from Philadelphia has been extremely inviting, and I am looking forward to the challenge. With that said, I loved my time with the Freedom and really felt like I had the opportunity to grow a lot as a person and a player and I’ll always be thankful for that experience.”
2. You haven’t been with the national team since 2007 when you trained during Women’s World Cup Residency Camp. Did ever doubt another call-up would be come?
LL: “I really didn’t think that far down the road. I’d been in with April (Heinrichs) and then I was in with Greg (Ryan), so I was mainly looking at some of the things I could take away from Residency to improve my game and hopefully things would fall into place. Of course, playing in the WPS, I was able to play day-in and day-out and show my abilities, and I’m glad Pia saw something in me to get this call-up.”
3. Give us your impressions of the first WPS season?
LL: “It was very good. Having played in the WUSA, there were a lot similar things, but overall I would say the technical ability was at higher level. We played at some smaller venues, but the main similarity was that it gave us all a chance to play at a higher level every day and play competitive games every weekend. You can’t put a value on that in your growth as a player.”
4. What do you remember about your one national team cap?
LL: “It was at The Home Depot Center against Iceland. There had been a series of camps in the middle of 2005 and the last one was in L.A. I came into the game for like the last 30 minutes for my former UVa. teammate Angela Hucles, who is my roommate during this camp. I think we ended up winning 3-0 and Danielle Fotopoulos scored a couple goals. It was hot and I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, but it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed myself.”
5. You are one of the relatively few players who played in the WUSA and the WPS. How did you keep the fire burning between leagues and without much national team action?
LL: “I had a feeling that a league would always come back. I knew that (WPS Commissioner) Tonya (Antonucci) was working hard on bringing it back. My excitement about the new league was the same that my coaches at the Freedom Jim Gabarra and Clyde Watson had. So they worked hard to put together teams that were competitive and really created a great training environment. We trained everyday and played one or two games a week. I really owe a lot to those guys and the Freedom for creating an environment to keep me, and a lot of other players, focused and fit.”
6. Many have said the level of the WPS is higher in than the WUSA. Thoughts on that?
LL: “You can tell how soccer in the U.S. is developing because on the technical and tactical side, the WPS is definitely on a higher level than we saw in the WUSA. However, in the WUSA there were some unreal athletes and it was maybe a bit more combative, but I still feel that the level of soccer was extremely high there too. It’s nice to see the growth of the women’s game right before our eyes in this new league. Truly, it’s just great to be a part of both leagues.”
7. What have been your impressions of the current Women’s National Team, having been here before, but watching from afar these last few years?
LL: “Pretty much the same evolution as the league. You can tell the players are consistently getting better technically and understanding the game better. Since everyone is a bit more technical, the speed of play is certainly faster and crisper, which in turn makes me have to think and play a lot faster. The individual creativity is even more exciting that it ever has been. There is definitely more individual flair and I know that Pia wants to see that.”
8. Let’s clear something up. Years ago, when you were playing for the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team, former U.S. National Team player and fellow Region 2 product Jena Kluegel (24 career caps from 2000-2003) accused you on the pages of ussoccer.com of crying from homesickness at Regional ODP camp. She also said she had to console you. What was the real story?
LL: “Yeah, Jena was throwing me under the bus a bit. She made fun of my floppy, chili bowl haircut that turned into a perm on the top after a while. I do admit that. And I may have been skateboarding around camp like she said, but we are just 14 years old. But honestly, she was the one who was crying from homesickness. I was like, ‘why is this little girl crying?’ I’m the one who had the console her and she didn’t leave my side for the rest of the camp. I was sort of like a role model and mentor for her. In actuality, she was just jealous of my ability on the skateboard so 15 years later I get to set the record straight.”
9. As a 29-year-old player coming into her first camp in a while, what are you goals?
LL: “Hopefully Pia saw something she liked in me during the WPS season, so I want to just come in and try to be consistent. I want to learn how she wants the midfielders to play. It’s tough because some players already know the system, and as a midfielder, you have to also learn the tendencies of the players around you, so for me it’s just about adjusting to the system and demands as soon as possible. I would say that’s the toughest part.”
10. Who was the best midfielder you played against in the WPS this season?
LL: “If had to pick one, it would be Sonia Bompastor, but she was on our team. I really liked playing with her. She liked to run at people, but she also played very simple. I think we had a good connection on the field. But as far as other teams, of course Shannon Boxx had a great year, Kelly Smith is always dangerous and Camille Abily was clearly one of the best. She was great for the Sol this season.”
11. Do you think coaching is on the horizon for you?
LL: “I’m really into the strength and conditioning aspect for soccer. I think I would be more involved in that aspect than actually coaching. I’d like to work with younger, high-school age athletes, and all the way up to the pros, because I think girls can benefit a lot more from focusing on their strength and fitness before they get to college.”