Three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion Christie Rampone recently provided an unforgettable experience for local soccer players with dreams of their own.
Rampone made an appearance at a scheduled practice for the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girl’s soccer team at Meadowridge Field East in Rumson on September 28. During an informal motivational session, Rampone described participation in high school soccer as a “privilege.”
“There are a lot of things I wish I would have known when I was in high school, and one of them
is that roles are constantly changing and you need to keep an open mind,” said the 40-year old Rampone, who plays for the Piscataway-based Sky Blue FC Club team, and is the only “99-er” – referring to a player on the highly regarded U.S Women’s National Soccer team that won the 1999 World Cup – still on the field.
“Always give 100% even if you are not playing the position you thought you would, and remember that confidence comes from within…you can’t rely on your coaches to give it to you.”
In addition to stressing the importance of good nutrition and training as well as a positive attitude, Rampone shared some interesting facts with the RFH players, such as:
• She is working toward the goal of playing in her fifth Olympic games — to be held in 2016 in Rio De Janeiro — and the chance to become the oldest Olympic soccer player in history
• Her favorite Olympic venue was Greece, where she spent six weeks and greatly enjoyed the beauty of the country and the warmth of its people
• She never dreamed that she would play soccer in the Olympic games
• The experience of riding through New York City’s “Canyon of Heroes” after winning the 2015 FIFA World Cup was indescribable, and made even more exciting by the fact that her daughters were in the car with her
• Her favorite 2015 World Cup matchup was U.S. versus Germany, because she felt that the game was evenly-matched with exciting shifts in momentum
• She considers herself to be closest with U.S. Women’s National Soccer teammates Shannon Box and Sydney Leroux (“Sydney teaches me about style, and I teach her to make good choices”), and her Co-Captain Abby Wambach
Rampone told the RFH players that in addition to her responsibilities as Co-Captain of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, she also takes the issue of women’s rights very seriously.
“Off the field, I am constantly fighting for women’s rights and working to get the best treatment for our players,” she said. “This is a side of my role that you don’t see as much.”
“As women, we have to keep pushing the bar to get to the same level as the men.”
When asked about factors that led to the 2015 World Cup triumph, Rampone stressed the importance of communication among players.
“People fear the American team because we talk a lot,” she said. “Teammates that communicate and support one another on the field put up a strong united front.”
“The best team will always win – I can promise you that.”
Rampone, who grew up in Point Pleasant, attended Monmouth University and excelled as a three-sport athlete (soccer, basketball, and lacrosse) after being heavily recruited by nearly every major college in the country. During her senior year, she accepted an offer to train and travel with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. She finished her collegiate soccer career with a start in all 80 games, led her team with 79 career goals and 54 assists, and was Monmouth’s record holder for goals, assists, and points in a season.
Rampone has played in five FIFA Women’s World Cup finals and four Olympics women’s soccer tournaments (earning three Olympic gold and one silver medal). She has participated in the second-largest number of international matches in U.S. and world history.