Rampone, now 41, says USWNT career likely over

The Equalizer Staff June 24, 2016 21
Christie Rampone being honored for her 300th cap during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in 2014. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Christie Rampone being honored for her 300th cap during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in 2014. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Christie Rampone turns 41 years old on Friday, a birthday which up until recently looked like it could come with the feat of becoming the oldest Olympic soccer player ever.

But last month, Rampone withdrew from U.S. women’s national team camp before it commenced for two matches against Japan. She said at the time that, despite playing regularly for Sky Blue FC in NWSL, she wasn’t fit for the international level; “I know I’m not there right now,” she said in a statement.

Rampone’s withdrawal all but confirmed that she would not be headed to Brazil for a fifth Olympic Games, and that her illustrious international career is over. In an interview published earlier this week, just days after Rampone’s stellar performance in a scoreless draw against Seattle Reign FC, the longtime U.S. captain confirmed as much.

“I guess, I knew it was time,” Rampone told NBC Olympics.

Asked if she hopes to return to the international level, Rampone said, “I don’t think so.”

[MORE: Rapinoe, Lloyd return to USWNT as Rio Olympics near]

She continued: “I’ve had such a great career, I’ve played so long and I don’t want to be that player that just can’t give it up and is just holding on,” she said. “I want to end enjoying it and I think I’ve been doing that this year.”

Rampone is a two-time World Cup champion and four-time Olympic medalist, three of those medals being gold and one being silver. She is the second-most capped U.S. player — male or female — in history with 311 appearances, behind only Kristine Lilly’s 354.

Rampone hasn’t played for the U.S. since September after having knee surgery in December and needing longer than expected to recover. She has played every minute for Sky Blue FC in nine matches this NWSL season.

[LAULETTA: Five thoughts on Rampone’s decision to walk away]

  • Terry Lash

    Congrats on a great career, but you have made the right decision. Best wishes for the future.

    • Cc W

      Well said!

  • JL

    So much class from Rampone. She knew she wasn’t physically capable of continuing to play international soccer, so she made the choice to step away on her own. And it’s fitting that while she doesn’t want a big send-off, she deserves it more than anyone else.

  • Observed

    Looks like this is her last year playing pro soccer. What’s the point next year when she no longer has USSF subsidy? Can’t raise kids on SB pay.

    • FlyingSquirrel42

      Maybe she just likes playing (and her kids like watching)? She might well have saved up a lot of money from her USWNT career. If she’s in good enough shape to make a meaningful contribution to her club, why not?

  • Lorehead

    And what a career it was! Mazel tov.

  • Gary Diver

    Article title is a little odd. At 41, her USWNT career is definitely over. I thought I read several months ago that her children wanted her to continue and try and make the Olympics team.

    How is USWNT going to honor Rampone? Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx, Lauren Holiday, and Lori Chalupny were all able to have a celebration game while they were still on the roster.

    • Tikitaka

      Once Rampone officially retires I’m sure they will honor her the same way. she’s kind of beating around the bush with actually using the “R” word.

  • Gary Diver

    Christie Rampone and Julie Johnston (December 2012)

    “You’ll be here and I’ll be watching.” – Christie Rampone, prophetic comment

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d-nhNS7Dus

  • dw

    In reality, she’s only one injury to Broon or JJ away from going to the Olympics.

    • Lorehead

      A part of me would like to see that, but realistically, it’d be whichever of Engen or Sonnett becomes the alternate. Rampone isn’t even in camp.

      • x

        Yeah, I posted earlier in the spring that I thought she was two injuries away from being in third CB consideration/one from alternate consideration, but with her withdrawing from camp IDK who the fifth-choice CB would even be. Hopefully we don’t find out.

      • dw

        It’s not like she’s on her couch. She’s league match fit. Even if Sonnett or Engen would get the promotion to starter, you’d bring Rampone along for the sub role, with the possibility to roll her out as a starter in case your confidence in the new starter wanes.

  • newsouth

    rampone > wambach

    • Lorehead

      Wambach’s career will be better-remembered, and she played better in her last World Cup. There really is no need to compare a central defender to a forward, though.

      • Tania

        I’m not sure that the poster is comparing them as players so much as people. Rampone, with a bit of help from USSF, has been able to handle this in a way that makes her look good. She looks like someone who knows when to hang ’em up. Reality is likely more along the lines that she’d have been cut had she not withdrawn, so the decision was a mutual face-saving approach, like the employee who gets fired but is allowed to say they’ve resigned. Abby should have done that before the World Cup.

        • Lorehead

          But, as I brought up, first, Abby Wambach was a better player than Christie Rampone in the World Cup and fully deserved her spot on the roster. In fact, she was better than two other players at her position, and contributed more to winning the World Cup than at least eight other players on the roster. She even had a game-winning goal! If either of them should have hung up her cleats before the World Cup, it was Christie Rampone.

          Second, if Jill Ellis really thought Abby Wambach were not as good a player in 2015 as Shannon Boxx or Lori Chalupny, which would have been a mistake, it was Ellis’ job to cut her, like Klinsmann cut Landon Donovan. The people who think Wambach had any pull with Ellis’ boss and could fire the coach are delusional. The fact that she repeatedly did not get much smaller things she wanted from USSF, including natural grass surfaces for friendlies and a trade to Portland, should be enough by itself to convince any rational person. Wambach did absolutely nothing wrong by showing up to camp ready to play. I swear, the only people who think Abby Wambach was absolutely entitled to a spot on the roster until she chose to retire are her haters.

          • Steglitz49

            The Abby of 2003 was a delight to watch. What a player!

            The Veterans, no doubt, feel they deserved those WC winner medals and that it was meet and right that they were the chosen ones and not other Veterans. No doubt they put the medals under their pillows to help them dream.

            Yet, when WC 2031 rolls around, I wonder what the distance of time will tell them. I doubt if those medals will smell so sweetly then. The next dozen years will be the make and break of them and Abby’s has not gotten off to a golden start.

          • FlyingSquirrel42

            Under the circumstances, I wasn’t too surprised to see Rampone go to the WWC and don’t hold it against her that she did. She’d lost her starting spot to JJ during an injury, KO was being used more as a midfielder, and Ellis hadn’t yet brought in Sonnett. So Rampone and Engen were going to be next on the CB depth chart unless Ellis had done something completely different with the roster beforehand.

        • Steglitz49

          How many Veterans were there in that WC squad? Why single out Abby?

          Anyway, the US won, which is all that matters.