Team USA defender Amy LePeilbet is considered one of the best all around defenders in Women’s Soccer. When it comes to shutting down Team USA’s top opponents Amy LePeilbet is a vital piece in Coach Pia Sundhage’s game plan. During a break in between games at the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Vancouver the Crystal Lake, Illinois, native had a few minutes for an interview. (This interview was conducted two days prior to the WPS cancelling their entire 2012 season)
Hi Amy how are you?
Amy LePeilbet: I’m good thanks.
How did you and your team feel last night after clinching a spot at the London, Olympics?
Amy LePeilbet: We were super excited to win that game and qualify. That was our main goal coming into this tournament so it was a great outcome.
How nervous was the team at half-time with only a one goal lead over Costa Rica… Did you think back to what happened against Japan?
Amy LePeilbet: It was an emotional game both teams were going after it. Both teams were wanting to qualify. Costa Rica came out and they played well. They had a bit of the play over us in the first half so in the second half we knew we needed to come out be sharper, keep the ball, and not be dispossessed as much. We needed to impose ourselves on them coming into that second half and I think we did that.
How tough is it to play in games when the score is fourteen, and thirteen nothing? Is it tough to improve when your competition is not very competitive?
Amy LePeilbet: No I wouldn’t say it’s tough because I think we took every game seriously. Last qualifying tournament didn’t go our way so we came into this tournament very focused every game mattered. With each game we really focused on ourselves and what we needed to do and with teams like that we just really wanted to play quickly, play with pace, one two touch, move the ball, make good movement off the ball, and have a sophisticated attack and finish with goals.
How do you approach the final game of the tournament against Canada? Is there more than trash talking and bragging on the line?
Amy LePeilbet: (Laughs) It’s always fun to play Canada. We definitely have a rivalry with Canada but for us it’s another opportunity to play a great team. It’s a moment for us to go out there continue to improve in the new system and keep growing as a team. It’s always fun to do that against a good team. It’s going to be a good challenge.
What’s it like playing against Christine Sinclair? As a defender how do you prepare to stop her?
Amy LePeilbet: Christine Sinclair is one of the best attacking players in the world. It’s such a great opportunity for us as a team and as a backline to face a player like that. I think it ultimately will prepare us for the London, Olympics. With her she’s such a sophisticated player. She makes great runs, she looks to get in behind, she’s so incredibly technical, and she’s probably one of the best finishers in the world as well. For us we really need to keep an eye out, know where she is, read the game early and well so we don’t allow her to get in behind us and pick our defense apart.
Have you ever played on the same team with Christine Sinclair in the WPS?
Amy LePeilbet: I’ve played against her but never actually on the same team as her but we use to train a little out in Northern, California together. I’ve definitely had the opportunity to play along side of her a bit just in training and pick up games here and there which is always fun. As a defender to go against the best in training it only helps your game grow.
What influenced your decision to leave the Boston Breakers of the WPS and sign with the Atlanta Beat?
Amy LePeilbet: I’ve heard great things about the organization. I’m really excited to play for James (James Galanis Head Coach). I like what he’s doing with that team and the style of play he wants the team to play. I think I’ll fit into that. Also I need to continue to grow as a player.
Was that not happening in Boston?
Amy LePeilbet: No I was definitely growing but I think James is going to take me to another level. He’s going to help me continue to grow. Sometimes you just don’t want to hit a stand still so I needed a fresh start and I think the Atlanta Beat are going to help me achieve that.
How big of a factor were the coaching changes in Boston and Atlanta in terms of making a decision on where you wanted to sign for the 2012 season?
Amy LePeilbet: I’ve just heard good things about Atlanta and I felt that it was the place for me at this time in my life. I like the coaching staff, I like the organization, and the facilities are unreal.
Are you excited to play with Sydney Leroux who Atlanta drafted 1st overall in the 2012 WPS draft a few weeks ago?
Amy LePeilbet: That’s a big bonus and that’s exciting too. It’s big time that we got her and I’m excited to play with her because she’s a very talented player. She’s going to do great things in Atlanta.
You have a huge fan base that really wants you to join twitter. Why have you not joined the twitter community?
Amy LePeilbet: (Laughs) Well I’m a quiet person and if I were on twitter I would probably never actually tweet. I think they’d probably be unhappy with me on twitter because I wouldn’t say much.
I don’t know about that. I think they’d be happy just to be able to follow you to hear about what you had for breakfast…
Amy LePeilbet: See I probably wouldn’t even mention that because that seems too boring to me to actually mention that. I just don’t think I’d be very good at it.
Are you more of a private person?
Amy LePeilbet: Ya I guess I’m a private person but it doesn’t even come down to that with twitter. I just don’t think I’d actually tweet. I’d never think to do it. Everything I would think would be too boring to tweet so I just would never actually tweet anything.
Are you aware that there are actual dedicated twitter names devoted to you? One of them is all about your Beanie…
Amy LePeilbet: Ya I’ve heard about those.
You’re a huge San Francisco 49ers fan and you’ve played in Boston the last few seasons. Who will you be cheering for in the Super Bowl on Sunday?
Amy LePeilbet: I guess I’ll have to go with New England. Just living in Boston I definitely became a sports fan of those teams so I’ll go for New England.
What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not with Team USA?
Amy LePeilbet: I guess now with the winter season if I can get up into the mountains and go snowshoeing those kinds of things. I love doing things like that.
We have a few mountains here in Vancouver that are a great place to do that.
Amy LePeilbet: I know I would love to get up to the mountains here but we came here for one reason and that was to qualify and now we’re on to the next thing. Hopefully in the final we can win this.
I’ve heard that you’re a big Seinfeld fan. Do you have a favourite Seinfeld episode?
Amy LePeilbet: That’s a tough one. I actually don’t know if I could say I have one favourite. I’m kind of just a fan of it all.
What about a favourite character?
Amy LePeilbet: I like Elaine. I have to say she’s one of my favourites but they all have some great characteristics.
Thank You very much for the interview Amy. Good luck with US Women’s National Team and the Atlanta Beat.
Amy LePeilbet: Thank You.
Notes: Amy LePeilbet did not play in Team USA’s 4-0 win over Canada the next day.