Rampone honoured after officially ending USA career

  • Icon was only woman on both 1999 and 2015 Women's World Cup teams.

  • Defender earned over 300 caps, the second most in international history.

  • She won three Olympic gold medals in her 20 year international career.

USA women’s legend Christie Rampone saw her stellar career with the Stars and Stripes lauded in a special ceremony yesterday after officially retiring from international football, honouring her 20 years on from her debut for the national team.

Having begun on 28 February 1997 in a 4-0 win against Australia, and ending in the 5-2 triumph over Japan in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ final, Rampone’s time on the pitch with the USA side – much of which adorned with the captain’s armband – was one marked with many highs.

Lifting the Women’s World Cup twice – with her first coming in 1999 and clinching Olympic gold on three successive occasions, Rampone stands as one of only two players in football to have gained more than 300 international caps, with a final tally of 311 seeing her sat behind only Kristine Lilly in the pantheon of US ever-presents. It was fitting she was commended on the field in front of a sell-out crowd ahead of USA’s SheBelieves Cup clash with England, at Red Bull Arena, New Jersey.

Looking back over so many games, no one moment stood out for the veteran defender as a highlight. "For the most part, it's been the locker room with the girls and going through those good times and bad times and persevering through those tough games where you don't think you are going to bounce back and you come back,” she said. “Winning those gold medals and having such meaning behind it. I really loved the journey."

A tenacious and committed competitor, she is set to continue for another season with Sky Blue FC in the NWSL, but she was clear how she wanted to be remembered for her two decades with the national team. "I think just putting the team before myself, that consistency of transitioning from a forward to a defender and learning from the best in the world," she said. "Then in the latter part of my years, transitioning into being that leader, being the best leader I could be for those girls. I'm kind of handing it off now and still seeing them excel."