February 13, 2017
USWNT sets pre-game ceremony for SheBelieves Cup match
Christie Rampone, the second-most capped women’s player in history, will be honored by U.S. Soccer before the USA faces England in the SheBelieves Cup at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., March 4.
Rampone, who made 311 appearances for the U.S. (second to Kristine Lilly’s 354), was a three-sport star in high school in Point Pleasant, N.J., 60 miles north of Harrison.
Rampone is the last member of the 20-player 1999 Women's World Cup team to retire from international competition, outlasting her closest teammate by five years, and is preparing with Sky Blue FC for her 11th season in the U.S. (fifth in the NWSL).
Rampone, who played the final match of her 19-year international career against Haiti in Birmingham, Ala., Sept. 20, 2015, captained the USA from 2008-15. In her final competitive international match, she entered the 2015 WWC final in the 86th minute, lifting the trophy with teammate Abby Wambach.
"I really couldn't have asked for more from my career with the national team, not only on the field but also in the relationships I made and the life experiences I was fortunate enough to have," Rampone said. "As a young girl, I never imagined the things I would get to see and the amazing people I would meet. I'm looking forward to celebrating with friends and family in my home state and seeing the team play England. There are some fantastic young players as well as many of the veterans I played with leading the team, so I know it's in very good hands."
Rampone attended Monmouth University on a basketball scholarship and was the starting point guard during her senior year when coach Tony DiCicco called her to the national team in January of 1997, just after the USA had won its first Olympic gold medal. Rampone, who chose to miss several basketball games to try out with the U.S., was a forward for Monmouth, tallying 79 career goals. DiCicco projected Rampone as a defender, because of her athleticism. After playing well in her first training camp in San Diego, Rampone made the roster for a trip to Australia. Rampone came off the bench in the second half of her first game, then started her second match.
Rampone missed time because of the birth of daughters (Rylie, born in September of 2005, and Reece, born in March of 2010), but was rarely out of the starting lineup for the next 19 years, starting 272 times.
"Christie Rampone is a fantastic role model as a teammate, a professional and a mom," U.S. coach Jill Ellis said. "She was always humble and always focused on the team first. She was a great leader and competitor for this team for so many years, and her contributions to women's soccer on many levels will always be remembered and appreciated. One of my best memories from the 2015 World Cup was seeing Christie on the field at the final whistle. It was so appropriate for her to finish as a champion because that's what she truly is."
Rampone was the most capped active player at the 2011 WWC and ‘15 WWC. Rampone scored four goals, two against Iceland on April 5, 2000, playing 24,011 minutes, second-best in U.S. history. Rampone was the first U.S. player to play more than 3,000 minutes in a calendar year, in 2008, when she totaled 3,066. Rampone remains among the fittest and fastest players on the team. Rampone is the USA's only four-time Olympian and was a three-time Olympic gold medalist (twice captaining the team), also winning an Olympic silver medal in 2000. Rampone became the eighth U.S. player to win two World Cup titles and joined Lilly as the only two U.S. players to have competed in five WWC tournaments. Rampone was a starter in seven of the nine world championships she played, serving as a reserve in 1999 and 2015. Rampone played in 19 WWC matches, tied for sixth all-time, and 22 Olympic matches, more than any U.S. player.
"I've always enjoyed intense competition, and with the U.S. team I got to pursue those goals at the highest level, which is part of what kept me going for so long," Rampone said. "I am very thankful to all the coaches I played for, especially to Tony DiCicco for giving me that first chance, and I am especially thankful to all my teammates. They are inspiring people who helped a shy girl from the Jersey Shore grow as a person and a player and gave her enough confidence to one day be the captain of her country. They are truly my sisters. We went through so much together over the years, all the wins and some tough loses, but we always kept competing, and that's something I'll always cherish. To get to stand on top of the podium so many times with them was just amazing."
Rampone, who began her professional career in 2001, has played in all three iterations of U.S. women’s professional leagues. She played for the New York Power in the WUSA from 2001-03, Sky Blue FC and magicJack in the WPS, and since 2013 has played for Sky Blue FC in the NWSL.
In 2009, Rampone led Sky Blue to the WPS championship as a player-coach, playing in the championship game despite being three months pregnant. Rampone is the oldest to play in a WWC and on July 5, 2015, became the oldest to play in a WWC final at 40 years and 11 days.