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.”
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]