Earlier this summer Team USA thrilled North America and the entire soccer world with their exceptional performance at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. Although they fell short in their accomplishment, Team USA garnered huge press, accolades, and support back home. I had the privileged opportunity to speak with star USA and Boston Breakers defender, Amy LePeilbet, about everything that happened in Germany this summer.
Hi Amy…… it’s nice to meet you. I really enjoyed watching Team USA’s matches and cheering them on after Canada was eliminated.
Amy LePeilbet: That’s terrific, thanks.
The road to the finals had a few ups and downs along the way especially against Team Sweden. Do you think your attempt to stop striker Lotta Schelin should have resulted in a penalty being awarded?
Amy LePeilbet: I think so probably; she and I went in for it and she ended up earning it for her team.
What were you thinking after Swedish midfielder Nilla Fisher’s free kick deflected off you and went in right after the succesful penalty?
Amy LePeilbet: It was a bad break, and unlucky bounce. I felt like I let my team down, but I still thought we could come back despite that.
Can we move on now to the game against Japan? Tactically speaking, why do you think Team USA didn’t defeat Japan before penalty kicks?
Amy LePeilbet: I don’t think we did anything wrong tactically; we had the ball, and made set plays. Both teams fought hard and wanted it, but they never gave up.
What does Coach Pia Sundhage bring to the team?
Amy LePeilbet: Pia creates a great atmosphere that allows us to reach our potential.
My home country, Canada, has a coaching vacancy. Maybe Pia could move up North?
Amy LePeilbet: No I wouldn’t like that; she is a great coach for us.
When did you first hear about the huge response Team USA and the FIFA Women’s World Cup was getting back home?
Amy LePeilbet: It happened right after the Brazil game through social media. Everyone immediately got on board; the buzz was huge.
Did you ever imagine you and your teammates making the front pages, and being asked for interviews before leaving for Germany?
Amy LePeilbet: I wasn’t focused on that. We wanted to achieve our team goal but it’s great for women’s soccer.
It’s been almost 3 weeks since the World Cup, has the momentum and enthusiasm carried on at WPS matches?
Amy LePeilbet: Yah definitely the fans have been getting into it. The enthusiasm and support have been great. We have the best fans in the USA and the best league.
Why do you play in the WPS as opposed to playing in Europe?
Amy LePeilbet: I like being part of a league that’s growing. Every team you play is good, and it’s not necessarily like that in Europe. Some leagues have a lot of teams but only a few are really good.
Is it more important for you to win a World Cup title or an Olympic Gold Medal?
Amy LePeilbet: Both would be amazing. The World Cup is the cream of the crop. I’ve never played in the Olympics.
Who is the toughest player you’ve play and defend against?
Amy LePeilbet: I’ll take on all comers. Marta is the toughest player with and without the ball. She moves so skillfully and effectively.
During the match against Brazil, a lot of fans were booing and jeering Marta, do you think she’s a dirty player who flops too much?
Amy LePeilbet: I disagree with the fans. I don’t think she is a diver. Sometimes it’s smart if you can fall and get calls.
You missed the 2007 World Cup in China with a torn ACL; do you have plans to play in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada?
Amy LePeilbet: I’m not focusing on that right now. I’m taking it one year at a time. Staying healthy is important.
But, what if you’re healthy and you still love playing soccer?
Amy LePeilbet: Well then, we’ll see.
Right now your team, the Boston Breakers, is in a huge fight to make the playoffs; do you think you will?
Amy LePeilbet: Well, we’re going to take it one game at a time, and then the next, and the next. We’ve been unlucky with ties and games we should have won. We have to give it 110%.
The WPS runs for just a few more weeks…… what do you do from September to April?
Amy LePeilbet: I’m just training with the US National Team and getting ready for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Canada next year.
Amy LePeilbet, it’s been really great interviewing you. Do you have anything else to add?
Amy LePeilbet: Nope, that’s it.
Notes: The Boston Breakers squeaked into the last WPS playoff spot with a 5-9-4 record after defeating the Sky Blue FC 2-0 at home on the last day of the season. In the opening round of the playoffs, Boston travelled to Florida to play the Boca Raton magicJack on August 17th. Boston lost 3-1 and was eliminated.