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U.S. Women's National Team vs. Australia Quote Sheet


U.S. WNT vs. Australia
Quote Sheet
WNT Fan Tribute Tour, presented by Panasonic
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.
Sept. 19, 2012


U.S. Women’s National Team head coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On the emotions of the final match as head coach:
“It’s very emotional. This is just fantastic. A great win and good soccer and a crowd that is happy and supportive. You can’t ask for more.”

On playing guitar for the team in a pre-game meeting:
“I didn’t know exactly how to say goodbye. It’s hard to say thank you to the players. In the pre-game talk, we took the starting lineup and talked about attacking and then I played for them. They laid down on the floor and closed their eyes and I played some songs for them. I played, ‘50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,’ ‘Times They Are A Changing,’ ‘If Not for You,’ and ‘I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane.’”

On if her pre-game concert was planned:
“On the schedule, we didn’t have a pregame talk and usually I give the starting lineup the day before, but this time they got the lineup this morning. I’m not a fan of that, but it was my way of saying thank you to them and just play a little bit of guitar. It turned out to be a pretty cool idea.”

On the outpouring of emotion she received during the Fan Tribute Tour:
“It’s unreal. I come from a small town in Sweden where I wasn’t supposed to play soccer because girls didn’t play soccer. Now, here I am standing in front of a great crowd and hearing my named shouted. It’s a dream. I’m living a dream.”

On the end of her stint as U.S. WNT head coach:
“It comes to an end and I have to move on and I want to go home. I will always remember this team and these kinds of crowds.”

On what she will take away from the five years she spent as head coach of the U.S. team:
“Soccer players with an American attitude of never give up and there’s always a way to win. We’ve come back so many times in many games since 2008 and it is contagious. I’ve got a little bit of that winning attitude. I’m very grateful for everything they’ve done for me and I think I’m a much better coach today than I was five years ago.”

U.S. forward ALEX MORGAN
On the team’s performance:
“We knew it was Pia’s last game and we wanted to give her a good show. We just didn’t have the right rhythm in the first half, but we finally came together and we got a win. We’re happy that we got a ‘W’ in Pia’s last game.”

On the team serenading Pia Sundhage as she ran a final victory lap:
“We planned on doing that in our pregame meal, but she ended up playing for us. So, we never had the opportunity. Now, we had the perfect opportunity because we never sing to her.”

On if anything was different about the way Pia acted today:
“Everything was the same with Pia today. We didn’t have a meeting planned today and she said we should have one last meeting. She put a meeting in there and she sang to us and it’s pretty typical for Pia. It was all the same until the big cry-fest after the game.”

On receiving her first chance with the U.S. WNT from Sundhage:
“Pia believed in me from day one. She gave me my first cap and helped me grow on this team and take baby steps to be the player that I’ve become. She never pushed me along into a different position or forced me to do anything. It was always letting my play on the field how I wanted to play and her guiding me a little bit here and there. I’ll always appreciate that.”

On if the team knew they would eventually lose their head coach:
“I think that we knew that eventually she was going to go home, but at this point we weren’t sure if it was going to be three or four more years. It was so abrupt that it’s only been a couple weeks that we’ve known she was leaving.”

On the lasting effect Sundhage will have on the team as coach:
“Pia has always loved our U.S. mentality to always want to be the fittest, the strongest, the fastest. She’s brought more of a technical side to this team, more of a European style of possession and technicality that we didn’t have as much in the past. I think bringing us to that next level has definitely helped our play.”

U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH
On the match:
“Today is Pia’s day and we’ve been talking about it all day about what can we do to show her. She’s a passionate woman about this game and we knew the best thing we can do was give her a win and we did that.”

On what her expectations where when Sundhage was hired as head coach five years ago:

“No idea. When a coach comes in and you don’t know who they are and they start singing songs for you, you’re like ‘what is this going to be?’ and thankfully it went well. I’m really proud of the way this team handles this increased fame, but is still capable of shining the spotlight on the person that deserves it the most right now, and that’s Pia.”

On her partnership with fellow forward Alex Morgan:
“I think that I’m so lucky to have Alex as my counterpart up top. Sydney Leroux always adds a little bit of feistiness at the end when she comes on. Tonight, we had many people scoring goals, Megan Rapinoe serving great balls. We’re still getting back into it. We all took a little bit of time off after the Olympics which was much needed, so this tour is very important for us to show the fans.”

On coaching turnover:
“This is my third coach on the team. Unfortunately, coaches usually come and go. We are so blessed to have had her as our coach for five years.”

On her favorite memories of Pia Sundhage:
“One of my favorite memories about her is that she celebrates the first goal equally as much as the fifth goal. Scoring goals for her isn’t something that just should happen.  For us, it’s almost an expectation because that’s how our standards are for ourselves on the field. No matter who is scoring, or how it happens, she is equally as happy for each player and the team. She taught me a lot about not getting too high or too low about stuff. I can’t thank her enough for the things she’s brought to my life and this team.”

On what kind of team Sundhage inherited on becoming coach:

“A different team. A team that was in a little turmoil and she handled it brilliantly. She let the team figure it out and I think that’s part of the reason we’ve had so much success over the years.”

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