National Soccer Hall of Fame: 13 Things I Learned During My Playing Career

By: Kristine Lilly
Kristine Lilly
Kristine Lilly

During the induction ceremony for the 2014 Class of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, former U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Kristine Lilly, who famously donned No. 13 for more than two decades, listed the 13 things that she learned during her playing career. Lilly, former Men’s National Team forward Brian McBride and former MNT head coach Bob Bradley represented the 2014 National Soccer Hall of Fame Class at a ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 14, at the U.S. Soccer Federation Annual General Meeting in San Francisco.

  • No. 1: Oranges at halftime are still my favorite part of soccer, and they don’t have them much anymore.
  • No. 2: U.S. stamps don’t work when you are sending postcards from China. I was 16. It was my first trip, c’mon!
  • No. 3: A team is stronger when you stick together on and off the field. Winning is easier together and fighting for what is right is, as well.
  • No. 4: Playing for your country is an honor and a privilege and one that should never be taken lightly or disrespected.
  • No. 5: Scoring your first goal makes you feel like you belong. Scoring your last goal makes you feel like you still belong.
  • No. 6: We all have our role, whatever it may be – coming off the bench, trainer, coach, or protecting the post on corner kicks. It all makes a difference.
  • No. 7: You can’t do anything alone.
  • No. 8: I love being a role model, and we all have the responsibility to be one to someone.
  • No. 9: Standing on the podium with your teammates while your National Anthem is playing reminds me that dreams do come true.
  • No. 10: You always need your family, even if you’re miles and miles away from them.
  • No. 11: The FIFA anthem will always bring me back to a happy time.
  • No. 12: Playing in front of 90,000 people is a lot easier than giving a Hall of Fame speech.
  • No. 13: Relationships outlast the game of soccer. When I think about what I remember the most about playing, it isn’t the wins and losses – although they still feel good or still sting a bit – it is the people. It is the people that made my career so special. There are so many people that have impacted my life and I think or I hope that I have shared enough with them that they know.