Women's National Team Conference Call Quote Sheet
CHICAGO (Tuesday, June 15, 1999) -
TONY DiCICCO - U.S. National Team Coach
On Nigeria's 4-3 exhibition win versus China Saturday:
"I wasn't that surprised. Maybe it surprised a lot of media. I knew Nigeria would be very athletic and very strong. I think they're a team that's capable of beating anyone in the world."
On the depth of the U.S. World Cup team:
"I think that this team, more than any U.S. Women's National Team in the past, has the most depth. There are several players that can step into the game and win it for us. Realistically, you have to plan that there will be injuries. We very well may have to do the same thing (that France did in '98) in this World Cup. It's not realistic to think that the same 11 players are going to play every game of the Cup. If we have any injuries, I think we have players that can step in and do the job for us."
On the defensive breakdowns in the Canada game:
"Certainly Charmaine (Hooper, Canada forward) is one of the best players in the world. If you give her an inch, she's going to make you pay for it. Whenever a goal is scored, there is a breakdown. People need to realize that the last goal we gave up was five or six games ago. Charmaine is an outstanding player and if we give outstanding players room in the World Cup, they're going to victimize us like Charmaine did."
On Denmark midfielder/forward Mikka Hansen:
"Mikka is a very good player and she was with our youth national teams. Fortunately, with the depth we have at her position, we never needed her . We hope that she has a tremendous tournament, except for the game against the United States."
On Kristine Lilly and where she will play in the World Cup:
"As many positions as possible. She is such a versatile player and one of the best in the world, period. Lately, she's played frontrunner and attacking midfielder, but with her mobility she can also get out wide. She's one of our fittest players and she means so much to this team. She is certainly one of the most respected players on this team. Her trademark is her consistency."
On the overall state of the team:
"I feel pretty good. This team has a great mentality. This is a very close team, as close as any I've ever coached. We've trained a long time now, but it's time to play past what we've done. Our challenge is to go out and play our game. As a coach you're always looking to get one more wrinkle taken care of, but it's time to play."
On Denmark, the team's opening first round opponent:
"Denmark is traditionally one of the better teams in the world. The result against Sweden was a little surprising to me. They (Denmark) have very good central midfielders in Jenson and Hansen that can get back and defend and also push into the attack."
On opening with the more well-known Denmark:
"You never want to play a team the quality of Denmark in your first game, but we know them best of all three teams. We're not going in totally unaware of the nuances that a Nigeria or North Korea will bring. We obviously have tapes of them and will see them when the play each other, but I agree with you that is better to open against Denmark."
On the 1991 World Cup in China:
"It was a bit of a new experience in '91 in a totally foreign country like China. But I do remember the team being pretty loose. I think the team was pretty loose in '95 also and they're pretty loose now."
BRIANA SCURRY - U.S. National Team Goalkeeper
On how it seems other teams around the world have been catching up to the U.S.:
"I don't think they necessarily have been catching up, they're just getting more support from their federations. I think the perennial top teams have been training all along, but other teams have now been getting a lot more games and a lot more experience. With experience brings the fruits of victory."
On how it feels when she has little action in goal:
"I love it! I love it! When my team is down in the other end, I love it. It's fine with me if we are dominating. I couldn't have a bigger smile on my face. It's difficult at times when another team gets a breakthrough, but I'm trained to handle tough shot when they come at me. The more bored I am the better."
On the great coverage and ticket sales of the WWC:
"I knew if this team was marketed in the right way, there would be plenty of people that would want to watch women's athletics. I think it's just a sign of how much people support us."
On facing large crowds like in Athens, Ga. for the Olympic final:
"In '96, coming out (into the stadium), I was in awe. Seeing all of the camera bulbs flashing, it took a minute for me to prepare. I for one don't feel nervous about it, but some of the younger players may. I think we know that all of these people are here to support us, and that the crowd is like a 12th man out there."
On the effect of the April 25, 2-1 loss to China:
"Whenever this team loses (which isn't very often), it's always a learning experience, at least for me. I really think that game (the 2-1 loss to China on April 25) was more than a learning experience ... I still had a smile on my face after that game, knowing my team was trying to go out there and win."
On the importance of the string of recent friendlies:
"Friendly matches are important for preparation purposes, but now, all of those friendlies go out the window. I think all of the results you've seen, you can pretty much throw those out the window, too. It's just like pro football or pro basketball or pro baseball. You just pick your game up a notch because you know this is it. You never know if someone on the other team is going to have the game of their life or the tournament of their life. I just can't wait because our game is going to be pretty much rockin'."
KRISTINE LILLY - U.S. National Team Midfielder
On the pressure the U.S. feels to win the World Cup and its relation to the start of a pro soccer league for women:
"That's a question we get a lot. What I've learned in selling the game . is that if we play our best soccer the way we know we can, and do the talking to the media and signing autographs after, then everything gets taken care of on the outside. Our focus is to win it. If we win, I think positive things will come from it."
On the USA's three first round opponents:
"Denmark is like all of the other teams in Europe, strong in the air. Nigeria is absolutely, totally new to us. From what I hear, they are very skilled on the ball and very fast. I expect great things from them. North Korea is probably on the same line as China and Japan, very technical and very disciplined. I like how China plays, and I think we might be able to expect the same from North Korea."
On her record 180 international appearances for the U.S.:
"I take pride in my fitness. I don't really know why I have played in so many games. There was always some personal reason that you might miss games for, however. I don't think I have missed any for injury reasons."
On what amazes her about long-time teammate Mia Hamm:
"I don't think anything ever surprised me about Mia. We went to college together, we have grown up together. From the beginning, she has grown as a player tremendously. I love seeing how much better she has gotten, even after college. Her game has grown to where she has the most goals and also the most assists because she is so heavily marked. She has a good heart and the dedication for it. I'm glad she's on my team."
On playing with U.S. legend Michelle Akers:
"Playing with Michelle has always been amazing for me. I think after the first or second practice with her (some 10 years ago), I realized she was an amazing player. She used to be the person that would take on five players an then score a goal, but now she has a different role."