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Lilly: 'There are no regrets'
by Paul Kennedy, January 5th, 2011 9:21PM

TAGS:  women's national team, women's world cup


[U.S. WOMEN] Kristine Lilly, holder of the world record with 352 international appearances, has retired at the age of 39. She played in five Women’s World Cups (the only woman to do so) and three Olympic Games and scored in every world championship tournament she played, except her first, the 1991 tournament when she was 20 years old.

Lilly is the only player to appear for the United States in four different decades and is both the youngest and oldest player to ever score a goal for the USA and is also the oldest player ever to earn a cap by more than three years over longtime teammate Joy Fawcett.

“The thing that has been so great for me in making this decision is that I’m in such a good place with my life and soccer,” said Lilly. “When I look back at everything, I’ve been a part of, it’s been great. There are no regrets. The opportunities I’ve had to play with so many great players and be a part of so many great moments has been amazing. There are so many people who have supported me through my journey and I really want to thank the U.S. Soccer Federation for their support of women’s soccer, the Boston Breakers, the sponsors and the fans for giving me the opportunity to live out my dreams for the past 24 years.”

Lilly played most of her career on the left flank but also saw time at forward in the middle of the 2000s, was the second-youngest player ever to debut for the USA when she started against China -- at the age of 16 years, 12 days -- in 1987, only the third year of the women's national team program. She scored her first career goal in her second cap 10 days later.

She has been the world’s most capped female player since 1998 when she earned her 152nd cap against Japan, passing Norway’s Heidi Stoere.

Lilly, who played five seasons for the Boston Breakers in the WUSA and WPS, finishes her career with 130 international goals, second only to Mia Hamm in U.S. and world history. Her 105 career assists are also second in the U.S. record book to Hamm.

“Kristine Lilly has been an integral part of our women’s soccer history, a great ambassador for the game and a tremendous role model for young players in the United States,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “Her accomplishments speak for themselves, but her lasting legacy will be one of a player totally dedicated to the team and doing whatever it took on and off the field to produce success. “

  1. Kent James
    commented on: January 6, 2011 at 8:39 a.m.
    All good things must eventually come to an end. Kristine Lilly has been pure class. Although not as high profile as some players, Lilly has always been there and the more you watch her, the more you realize what an important player she was. The soccer world could use many more like her, but that's a tall order.
  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: January 6, 2011 at 8:59 a.m.
    What a classy woman! She could have stayed for 6 more months and have a shot at playing in her 6th world cup, a fate that had never been achieved by any player, man or woman. This remind me of a certain player who is trying to break the English all time appearances record, even if it was through coming off the bench.
  1. Heather Scott-molleda
    commented on: January 6, 2011 at 9:17 a.m.
    Such a great player it's sad to see the era come to an end, but I confess I'm glad she's retiring because it's time for the younger generation to step up and for US Soccer to realize they have BIG problems in their development system, based almost entirely on the very flawed pay-to-play ODP system.
  1. M K
    commented on: January 6, 2011 at 12:05 p.m.
    Wow,great career.
  1. Daniel Lann
    commented on: January 6, 2011 at 9:11 p.m.
    Kristine Lilly ... A name that ranks up there with Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett, Brianna Scurry, Brandi Chastain, and so many others. For soccer lovers, this group epitomizes what the game is all about-- playing for the love of the game. Just when I have started getting over the retirement of four of the "Fab Five," Kristine, the fifth member, brings the glory days screaming back to center stage. Fifty years from now, these soccer players will be revered. Thanks, guys. Soccer owes you one.

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