Skip to content

Christie Rampone set to play on for USWNT

Sep 19, 2012, 8:06 PM EST

Blue Jays Yankees Baseball

For the last year it was assumed U.S. women’s national team captain Christie Rampone would retire at the end of the Olympics. She’s 37, has a family, and three years out from Canada 2015, there wasn’t much to play for. She’s won World Cups and Gold Medals, and as (by far) the last of the 99ers, Rampone has been to the mountain top of mountain tops. Coming off gold in London, what was left?

How about the love of the game? That journalistic cliché; the hollow axiom bludgeoned into customer’s head; the thing that actually turns out to be true every time we actually touch a soccer ball.

Turns out Rampone just likes playing soccer, and since she is still one of the best central defenders in the world, the only reason to retire could be the desire to go out on a high note.

Rampone decided she doesn’t care about that (quotes from ESPNW):

“After the Olympics, I thought I’d be like, ‘This is it, this is awesome. Let’s ride off on a high note,’ ” Rampone told espnW after the U.S. training session here in Denver before a match against Australia on Wednesday.

“But then I was like, ‘I don’t need to end off on a high note. I just want to continue playing and doing something I love.’ “

You won’t get any complaints from U.S. national team fans. Despite being the team’s oldest player, she’s the U.S.’s best option at the back. While Becky Sauerbrunn and Rachel Buehler are both decent players, their pairing would be a noticeable step back from one featuring Rampone.

The thing to watch with Rampone will be the foot speed. She’s still able to keep up with most of the world’s best. Once that goes, we can start talking about whether the captain should reconsider.

But given the incredible shape in which she keeps herself, Rampone’s unlikely show up one day and need to be replaced. Her fade will be gradual, and since that wane has yet to begin, it’s not difficult to imagine her playing at the net World Cup.

Though for now, Rampone’s taking it one year at a time:

 “They may want to wipe out the older players, but you never know. So I’m just going to keep an open mind to it, give a good year commitment to it, see if I like the coaching staff, how I fit in, how much travel it is and take it from there.”

Unless Rampone starts detesting the annual trip to Portugal for the Algarve Cup, travel shouldn’t be much of an issue. The qualm seems like more of an out clause. With two kids at home, Rampone might wake up in a hotel one day, look across the room and see a sleeping teammate, and ask ‘Why am I still doing this?’

For now, she’s doing it for the love of the game.

  1. bloodydamnsox - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    The play of Rachel Buehler should not be underestimated. She’s a fast & fearless back who has kept many a cabbage from being dropped in the basket. The US team would miss her.

  2. cleo94606 - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    There is no disputing the leadership qualities Rampone brings to the pitch but I don’t think a Sauerbrunn/Buehler pairing would be that bad. There is something to be said for the short girl winning every header near her. Both have a remarkably high soccer IQ – they are rarely ever caught out of position. This is completely hinged on neither of them having to babysit LePeilbet. Buehler’s worst games came when she got stuck on the same side as LePeilbet. Admittedly, Rampone is the only one who can manage the extra weight. But when Krieger comes back, it won’t be an issue.
    I’m not ready to see Rampone go, but we suffered with the poor transitioning of the 99ers out. Instead of retiring right before the World Cup, how much better would Rapinoe been if Lilly had retired earlier?

  3. sfcp6 - Sep 22, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    Babysit for LePeilbet? Hardly. LePeilbet had an outstanding Olympic tournament and held her own. You also forget that LePeilbet is playing out of position on the flank (out of necessity) yet she still was chosen as the starter over all the other defenders that auditioned. For most of 2010 Rampone and LePeilbet played CB tandem to wonderful success and I’d love to see that resumed. LePeilbet is an outstanding CB and has two WPS defender of the year awards to prove it.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Preview: Arsenal vs. Manchester United