Going into the 2015 FIFA World Cup Finals, Christie Rampone was the last of the legendary ‘99ers — the World Cup championship team that put U.S. women’s soccer on the map — to still be on the field.
She had just turned 40 — officially the oldest female soccer player to ever play at the World Cup — and it wasn’t even her most impressive feat. After giving birth to her fist child, Rylie, in 2005, she returned to the pitch 112 days later, and went on to become captain of the national team and win gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
She came back in just 90 days after the birth of her second daughter, Reece, in 2010 — before placing second in the 2011 World Cup and winning gold, as team captain, in the 2012 Olympics in London.
On how motherhood improved her game:
“Suddenly, you gain all of this confidence because you can do it all. Yeah, I’ve come back from having two kids. I’ve played games with no sleep because I’ve been up with a sick kid. I can handle anything that’s thrown at me.”
On the perspective that comes with motherhood:
“Before kids, as a player, you have a tendency to overthink stuff. You’ve got too much time on your hands — you sit there in the hotel room over-thinking, stressing out, imagining things. As a mom you can’t do that — you’re focused on your true problems. The real things. And that really helped my game.”