Kristine Lilly is often referred to as the USA’s Iron Woman, and for a good reason. Not only has she played in 342 matches for the USA (the most capped player on the world) and scored 129 goals in her national team career, but she has played on both professional leagues that have existed in the US and she has done it all over the course of more than 20 years (her first international appearance was in August 3, 1987). Can you think of any other athlete who’s had a professional career of 20 years?
She has won 2 World Cups, participating in 5, and 2 Olympic gold medals, participating in 3. She was an all-star with the Boston Breakers in the WUSA (2001-2003), and she is now playing for the Boston Breakers in WPS. She was a four time NCAA champion at UNC, and helped her high school team to 3 State championships.
Kristine was the captain of the national team from 2005-2007, but took 2008 off to have her baby girl, Sydney. Later that year she came back to the field as she was allocated to the Boston Breakers. She started all 20 matches for the Breakers, the only player on the team to do so, and led the team in minutes played with 1,800. She was voted to the All-Star team where she started and scored a goal helping the team to a 4-2 win over opponent Umea IK.
You can certainly say that Kristine is one of the world’s greatest athletes, but she’s not done yet. As she is preparing for another season with the Breakers, she took the time to answer some questions, posted below.
What was your favorite moment/experience while at UNC?
I don’t think I have one moment that was my favorite but the best part was the great friends I made there. Plus the education I got and winning 4 national championships were also good.
Do you intend to play in the 2011 World Cup or 2012 Olympics?
I haven’t been asked back up to the national team. So really it is in the hands of the U.S. coach.
Who on the national team is the most difficult to go one-on-one with?
Back in the day Joy Fawcett was always difficult to go up against. Now Christie Rampone, Kate Markgraf and Amy LePeilbet were all difficult.
What does it mean to you, as a player and a person, to hold the world record for international appearances representing your country?
I am just really proud to have played in so many games. That means I worked hard to remain a starter and be healthy to participate in so many games.
Do you think anyone will ever get more caps for their country than you have for the USA?
I’m not sure about that, but records are always made to be broken.
Who is the most difficult player from another country that you’ve ever had to play against?
Hege Riise, a player from Norway. She was very good.
If you could participate on any game show, which one would it be and why?
I always wanted to be on Family Feud.
Growing up, what was your favorite TV show to watch?
If you didn’t play soccer for a living, what would you be doing instead?
I’m not sure. I love to take pictures, maybe a photographer.
I’ve read on your website that you took some cooking classes with your husband. What is your best dish?
My best dish now, is probably the mac & cheese I learned how to cook, by Ellie Deaner.
Do you have a hidden talent?
I can touch my tongue to my nose.
What is the craziest, most thrilling thing you’ve ever done?
I almost hiked to the top of Kilimanjaro. Missed the summit by about 1500 feet. I got altitude sickness.
Has your little one shown any interest for soccer?
She can kick a ball.
What do you like to do when you’re not training?
Play with my daughter and take a long walk with my dog.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate chip ice cream
What was your first car?
You’re first appearance for the USA was in 1987, more than 20 years ago, and you’ve been playing ever since you were a little kid- pretty much your entire life. How have you been able to play at the highest level for so long?
I just worked hard. I made sure I was always fit. I learned how to take care of myself but I also had fun with the people I played with, which made me want to work for them and vice versa.
This one is just for laughs. Do you think Sidney and the other WNT babies (the girls) will be the future of the national team?
It would be interesting to see one day what they all decide to do with their lives.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I think I would want people to know I went out there every day and worked hard and played for my teammates and to be the best!
What are your thoughts on the next WPS season?
Hopefully we can win in Boston!
(Ed. Note: Be sure to follow Kristine on her website www.KristineLilly13.com)