Five-year-old Lori Chalupny spent all two-and-a-half hours of the afterschool program playing soccer with the boys on the blacktop. “I’d literally turn black from the asphalt. My mom would come to pick me up and she’d make me go wash up before I was allowed to get in the car.” She’d continue playing for hours by herself when she got home, dribbling around piles of leaves, kicking the ball against the wooden fence in her dad’s backyard. She’d break the wooden slats and her father would have to nail the boards back together again. “I couldn’t get enough,” says Chalupny.
SHY TO THE BONE
Lori Chalupny was so shy she couldn’t handle a phone call. “My mom, wanting to make me less shy, would ask me to order the pizza. I could not do it. I didn’t want to make the call.” Shyness was a constant: “I played on the Youth National Teams for years and my teammates were like, ‘Yeah, but we didn’t hear you talk for the first five. And when I had to talk to media, I couldn’t form a complete sentence. It was horrible, I stumbled over every word.”
THE QUIET LEADER
Ironically, the kid who couldn’t speak in front of groups now spends all her time doing exactly that. When she’s not playing, she’s an assistant coach at Washington University in St. Louis. She still gets nervous speaking to a group – “I feel like I almost pump myself up to go coach,” says Chalupny. “But you know, the bottom line is that when all the players are standing there, waiting for you to talk, you end up talking.”
And when you have a coach who is a veteran of the National Team, you pay attention to what they have to say. “The players come to me with issues – how do I get more playing time? Or, what did you do as a captain to get the team pumped up? And I say, it’s not something you can say, it’s not a magical word, you just make sure everyone feels important and knows their role.”
Lori’s team is obviously proud – “They tweet stuff like, ‘No big deal, my coach is playing against Brazil tonight.’ It makes me smile.”
U.S. National Team: Returned to the WNT fold at the end 2015 after a five-year absence, starting the last three games of the year at the International Tournament of Brasilia … Got her first taste of international duty in 2001 but, didn’t break into the National Team full time until 2005.
- 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion
- Bronze Medal 2007 Women’s World Cup
- Played every minute of every game at the 2007 Women’s World Cup, one of two players to accomplish that feat and scored twice in the tournament, including the game-winner in the 1-0 victory over Nigeria to finish group play
- Gold Medal 2008 Olympics
- Scored one of the most important goals in U.S. history against Japan in the 2008 Olympic semifinal, blasting in the go-ahead goal just before halftime
- 2009 U.S. Women’s National Team Captain
- 2002 Under-19 Women’s World Cup Champion
- Earned 14 Under-21 caps and 21 Under-19 caps during her youth career
- 2005 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year
- Career high for games in a calendar year: 34 in 2008
- Career high for starts in a calendar year: 32 in 2008
- Career high for minutes in a calendar year: 2,712 in 2008
- Career high for goals in a calendar year: 4 in 2007
- Career high for assists in a calendar year: 2 in 2007
- Earned first WNT cap at the age of 17, meaning by that age she had played for the USA at four age levels
Professional / Club: 2014: Put in a tremendous season as the captain of the Chicago Red Stars, playing 23 of the team’s 24 regular season games (and starting 22 of those matches) and led the team with 2,003 minutes played … Was the most fouled player in the NWSL for a second straight season, suffering 45 infractions… Added five goals from her central midfield role … 2013: Allocated to the Chicago Red Stars for the inaugural season of the NWSL… Named to the NWSL Best XI as a midfielder… Started 17 of 18 games played and scored five goals on top of providing four assists … 2012: Played for the Chicago Red Stars of the WPSL-E, scoring five goals in 13 games before venturing to Swedish football later in the year to join AIK Fotboll Dam … 2011: Played the last season of WPS for the Atlanta Beat, ultimately scoring four goals in 34 appearances for the club … 2010: Transferred from St. Louis Athletica to the Atlanta Beat … 2009: Allocated to St. Louis Athletica for the inaugural WPS season where she captained the team … Helped Athletica to a second place finish during the regular season with a record of 10-6-4 and a berth into the Super Semifinal match … Named to the All-WPS First Team and played in the WPS All-Star Game … Played 18 matches for her hometown Athletica, scoring two goals with one assist … Tied for first as the most fouled player in the WPS … Youth club: Played for the Gateway Strikers at a forward from 1994-’95 before moving to JB Marine, where she played for eight years ... Won the U-23 national championship with JB Marine in 2004.