Christie Rampone: ‘We Truly Inspired The Nation’

Days after winning the women’s World Cup, U.S. captain Christie Rampone continues to be amazed by the outpouring of support and congratulations that she and her teammates have received.

“It’s been truly amazing to realize how much we truly inspired the nation,” Rampone said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “When you’re in Canada, you don’t really feel it. You have the support there. The fans are crazy. But coming home and having so many people supporting and screaming and chanting and yelling, it’s pretty unreal. It’s amazing. But this team deserves it.”

Rampone, 40, was the lone holdover from the United States’ 1999 World Cup team, which captivated the nation by beating China on penalty kicks in the final. That victory came in a pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter, pre-social-media world.

Sunday’s 5-2 win over Japan did not.

“It’s just even better,” Rampone said. “I think ’99 was exceptional – winning on home soil and just the excitement (of) being in New York City. But coming home after this 2015, it’s just been exceptional. And just (seeing) the media and social media and how influential 23 players on our team have been to Americans has been pretty special. The girls are so excited. Exhausted, but (we) wouldn’t change it for the world.”

The U.S. steamrolled Japan in a rematch of the 2011 final, scoring four goals in the first 16 minutes.

“We were just in shock,” Rampone said. “Is this a dream? Is this really happening? This is unbelievable. It was just unreal. You can never ever write a script like that. And how much we were able to enjoy every minute of that game by being up so many goals and Carli playing out of her mind – you could see the relief was gone. Players were just playing and enjoying (it) and having a smile. That was what was amazing to see.”

The team has gotten congratulations and well-wishes from countless people, including President Obama.

“Hearing from the president and just actually having a conversation was pretty cool with the whole team in one room – and just not a ‘Hey, congrats, you guys are awesome, you did well,’” Rampone said. “He had a conversation and knew players on the team and knew about the experience and the environment, which is pretty cool.”

Rampone, the oldest player in the World Cup, will likely retire later this year. She was asked what has kept her playing for so long.

“I love the game,” she said. “I love to compete. I played so many sports growing up, and to be able to just continue to play and be on the best team in the world and enjoy the journey is what it’s about. I wasn’t ready to give it up. To be around these girls and watch the game grow, that’s been the best part of it – from ’99 to now. Yeah, we won so many Olympic gold medals and now two World Cups, (but) it’s just inspiring to be around so many powerful women. So why not? If you’re capable of doing it, you might as well keep going.”

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