Kirstine Lilly Honored
American soccer legends Kristine Lilly, Brian McBride & former USA Head Coach Bob Bradley inducted into 2014 US Soccer Hall of Fame on Valentine’s Day, 2105.
Also honored: From his role as the U.S. Men’s National Team coach to his ongoing success in Major League Soccer, Bruce Arena has created a winning environment and influence and is the 2015 recipient of the Werner Fricker Builder Award.
The trailblazers of American soccer players – Kristine Lilly and Brian McBride were celebrated last night as they were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Former US National Team coaches Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena were also honored. Bradley was inducted to the Hall of Fame and Arena was the recipient of the coveted Werner Fricker Builder Award.
Being inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame is world-wide recognition that defines a career. As Sunil Gulati, President of US Soccer bestowed the honors – the word that kept coming up was class … both Lilly and McBride were excellent ambassadors of American soccer because they were highly accomplished on the field and classy competitors on and off.
Special Spotlight on Kristine Lilly
Kristine Lilly is the most capped soccer player in the history of American soccer and this is an accomplishment no one else can claim. Lilly’s 352nd and final cap was earned against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier in November 2010. As Gulati pointed out in his opening remarks, Lilly scored 130 goals for the United States women’s national team, behind Mia Hamm‘s 158 goals and she was not a forward. Lilly played in the 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup and is a two-time World Cup champion, winning in 1991 and 1999. Lilly also competed in the Olympic Games three times and earned gold medals in 1996 and 2004, and a silver medal in 2000.
Two World Cup victories as well as two Olympic Gold medals, Lilly has played more international soccer games than any other player on the planet.
Former US women’s national team and longtime North Carolina head coach Anson Dorrance introduced Lilly. In his heartfelt intro, Dorrance reminded everyone how Lilly was a better player than anyone else on the field and even the other players, including Mia Hamm knew it. Lilly is the most decorated player as well as having the distinction of being the youngest and oldest player to score a goal on the US National Team. Lilly, who wore #13 proudly on her jersey during her twenty-three year career, took to the podium to share her thoughts on soccer which included:
- A team is strong when you stick together on and off the field,
- You can’t do anything alone,
- Playing in front of 90,000 people is easier than a Hall of Fame speech, and
- Try anything but never quit.
The #13 currently worn by Alex Morgan, chose to wear it because of her deep respect for Lilly.
During the induction ceremony for the 2014 Class of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, former U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Kristine Lilly, who famously donned No. 13 for more than two decades, listed the 13 things that she learned during her playing career.
Here is the full list of the 13 things Lilly learned playing soccer:
- No. 1: Oranges at halftime are still my favorite part of soccer, and they don’t have them much anymore.
- No. 2: U.S. stamps don’t work when you are sending postcards from China. I was 16. It was my first trip, c’mon!
- No. 3: A team is stronger when you stick together on and off the field. Winning is easier together and fighting for what is right is, as well.
- No. 4: Playing for your country is an honor and a privilege and one that should never be taken lightly or disrespected.
- No. 5: Scoring your first goal makes you feel like you belong. Scoring your last goal makes you feel like you still belong.
- No. 6: We all have our role, whatever it may be – coming off the bench, trainer, coach, or protecting the post on corner kicks. It all makes a difference.
- No. 7: You can’t do anything alone.
- No. 8: I love being a role model, and we all have the responsibility to be one to someone.
- No. 9: Standing on the podium with your teammates while your National Anthem is playing reminds me that dreams do come true.
- No. 10: You always need your family, even if you’re miles and miles away from them.
- No. 11: The FIFA anthem will always bring me back to a happy time.
- No. 12: Playing in front of 90,000 people is a lot easier than giving a Hall of Fame speech.
- No. 13: Relationships outlast the game of soccer. When I think about what I remember the most about playing, it isn’t the wins and losses – although they still feel good or still sting a bit – it is the people. It is the people that made my career so special. There are so many people that have impacted my life and I think or I hope that I have shared enough with them that they know.
Surrounded by family and friends and an appreciative soccer community at the US Soccer AGM, Lilly gracefully accepted her award.
Next Up: Brian McBride