KRISTINE LILLY’S TOP-13 GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS
Of course, there have been far more than 13 list-worthy achievements in Lilly’s career, but ussoccer.com picked 13 that helped define her career.
August, 2003 – Lilly is named First-Team All-WUSA, the only player to earn First-Team all league honors in all three WUSA seasons. She would go on to earn All-Star and Best XI accolades during two seasons in WPS as well.
August, 1995 – Lilly plays professional indoor soccer with the Washington Warthogs of the MISL, becoming the first woman to play on a men’s professional team.
December, 1991 – Lilly wins the Hermann Trophy and Missouri Athletic Club Player of the Year awards despite missing the playoffs and NCAA Final Four to play in the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
October, 2004 – After winning her second Olympic gold medal, her hometown of Wilton, Conn., names a street after her…Kristine Lilly Way.
December, 2005 – Lilly is named U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year, 12 years after winning the award for the first time in 1993. (She wins again in 2006).
Sept. 20, 1998 – Lilly starts her 62nd consecutive game for the USA against Brazil in Richmond, Va., setting a record that still stands for consecutive games played.
Nov. 4, 2006 – Lilly scores the winning goal in the Peace Queen Cup Final in South Korea as the USA defeats Canada, 1-0. (She also scores both goals in the Four Nations Tournament clinching game the previous January and scored the winning goal in the championship game of the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament.)
March 9, 2005 – Lilly becomes captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team as the USA defeats France, 1-0, at the Algarve Cup.
May 21, 1998 – Lilly becomes the most capped female player in the history of the world, passing Heidi Stoere of Norway, when she plays in her 152nd game against Japan in Kobe.
Oct. 10, 2004 – Lilly becomes the fifth player in world history to score 100 career international goals, tallying against New Zealand in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Aug. 26, 2004 – Lilly starts her 40th consecutive match in a world championship for the United States in the USA’s 2-1 victory over Brazil to win the Olympic gold medal.
May 22, 2010 — Lilly scores against Germany in a 4-0 victory for what would be her last goal in a U.S. uniform. The goal makes her the oldest and the youngest player ever to score for the U.S. Women’s National Team. She scored her first goal when she was 16 years, 22 days old and her last when she was 38 years, 264 days old.
Jan. 18, 2006 – Lilly plays in her 300th match, the only player in the history of international soccer, man or woman, to do so. She also scored a goal in that match, a 3-1 victory over Norway. She would go on to play 52 more times for the USA.
Kristine Lilly spent more than 28,700 minutes on the field for the U.S. Women’s National Team. What have you been doing with your time? Below are a few suggestions.
TOP-13 THINGS YOU COULD DO DURING THE TIME KRISTINE LILLY SPENT ON THE FIELD IN HER 352 MATCHES FOR THE UNITED STATES
13. Ride “It’s a Small World” at Disneyland 1,913 times
12. Send 172,000 text messages
11. Watch the Daytona 500 120 times
10. Watch 478 episodes of the Sopranos
9. Run 136 marathons (at 3:30 pace)
8. Watch her play 318 complete 90-minute soccer matches
7. Juggle a soccer ball one million seven-hundred and twenty-two times
6. Drive across the United States 14 times
5. Do one million four-hundred and thirty-five thousand sit-ups
4. Fly from California to China 33 times
3. Swim the English Channel 63 times
2. Fly to the moon and back, three times
1. Play almost every minute for every U.S. player at every Women’s World Cup
Some of Kristine Lilly’s statistics are mind-boggling. There have been only 108 matches in U.S. history that she hasn’t played in, but 15 of those came before her debut and 34 came during or right after her pregnancy.
KRISTINE LILLY’S TOP-13 MOST AMAZING STATISTICS
13. From 1991 through 2007, Lilly played more than 1,200 minutes every year for the national team except for 1994 (just missed by 30 minutes), 2001, when the USA played only 10 matches, and in 2005, when the USA played only nine. The streak ended with her pregnancy in 2008.
12. Lilly is both the youngest and oldest player to score for the U.S. Women’s National Team and she did it about 23 years apart.
11. Lilly appeared for the United States in four different decades.
10. Lilly was the first U.S. player to hit 100 caps, the first to 200 and of course the first and only to hit 300.
9. Lilly was on the field for the USA for 28,700 minutes.
8. Lilly scored in every world championship tournament she has played, except for the 1991 Women’s World Cup when she was 20.
7. Lilly’s 105 career assists are the second most ever by a U.S. player behind Mia Hamm and her 130 goals are second best in women’s soccer history.
6. Up until the 2008 Olympics, which she missed due to pregnancy, Lilly had started every match the U.S. Women’s National Team has ever played in Women’s World Cup and Olympic competition.
5. In her 352 caps, Lilly has 330 starts. She has come off the bench just 22 times in her 24-year career.
4. To date, the U.S. women have played 460 matches in their history. Lilly has played in 352 of them, about 76%.
3. Lilly has also 1) played against 39 different countries, 2) scored against 30 different countries, 3) played in 21 countries and 4) scored in 15 countries.
2. Lilly leads the USA all-time in Women’s World Cup appearances at 30.
1. 352 caps. A world record.‘Nuff said.
While it’s extremely difficult for Lilly to remember all of her 130 goals, picking her 13 favorites was even more of a challenge. But with some help from the U.S. Soccer Media Guide, and a journey into her brain’s memory banks, this is the list she came up with…
KRISTINE LILLY’S TOP-13 FAVORITE GOALS
13. May 22, 2010 vs. Germany in Cleveland, Ohio
This would be Lilly’s final goal and it comes off an assist from Abby Wambach after a dazzling dribbling run.
Said Lilly: “I remember Abby taking a long touch, so I initially started a run to get the ball, but she kept dribbling so I backed off and she fed me. I didn’t get a lot of power on it, but I got enough to finish it off.”
12. Oct. 6, 2002 vs. Italy in Cary, N.C.
At the Nike U.S. Women’s Cup, Lilly scores off a near-post header.
Said Lilly: “I think it was the only header goal of my career. I closed my eyes.”
11. March 13, 2005 vs. Denmark in Vila Real de San Antonio, Portugal
Lilly scores directly off a corner kick at the Algarve Cup. Her swerving blast from the right corner flies over everyone and plants itself into the left side netting.
Said Lilly: “That goal was just fun because it doesn’t happen very often and when I was little, I always wanted to score on a real ‘banana kick.’”
10. July 15, 2006 vs. Sweden in Blaine, Minn.
Lilly smashes in a volley in the final minute of the match to give the USA a 3-2 victory. The goal caps a riotous three-goal in four-minute span in which the USA had taken the lead in the 89th, but Sweden tied the game in the 91st and Lilly scored in the 92nd.
Said Lilly: “That was just one of those moments where a ball happened to be there and I just kicked the heck out of it. I hit it good and it went perfectly into the goal. Obviously, the timing in the game made it even more exciting.”
9. Aug. 17, 2004 vs. Australia in Thessaloniki, Greece
Lilly scores the USA’s lone goal against Australia at the 2004 Olympics, running onto a long cross from Julie Foudy to hit a first-time volley back across the face of the goal and into the right corner.
Said Lilly: “I like this goal because I can remember timing my run on Julie’s serve, and it worked out perfectly. Some people think you don’t think about those things, you just do them, but on this one I timed the run and Julie put it on a dime.”
8. April 10, 1993 vs. Germany in Atlanta, Georgia
Directly off a cross, Lilly collects the ball on her chest and strikes a full volley into the upper right side of the net from just inside the penalty area.
Said Lilly: “I think I like this one because I remember it so well. You always want to pop one off your chest and hit a full volley, but you never seem to get the chance in a game.”
7. Aug. 13, 1987 vs. China in Shenyang, China
Lilly’s first-ever goal. Carin Gabarra flicks a ball in the path of the 16-year-old Lilly and she hits a half-volley “looper” over the ‘keeper from about 20 yards out.
Said Lilly: “I remember feeling after that game that I had something to contribute to the team. I felt a little more confident after that.”
6. Oct. 11, 2003 vs. Canada in Carson, Calif.
Lilly opens the scoring in the 2003 Women’s World Cup Third-Place match with a blistering half-volley, running onto a bouncing ball to score from just inside the penalty area.
Said Lilly: “It was kind of an emotional goal. We were playing in the Third Place match and we didn’t want to be there. It had a lot of power behind it so it got a lot of emotions out.”
5. Nov. 26, 2006 vs. Canada in Carson, Calif.
Lilly buries a penalty kick in the very last minute of overtime to defeat Canada for the CONCACAF title.
Said Lilly: “That’s one of those rare moments in the game where I either make the kick and we win, or I miss and we go to penalty kicks. I remember stepping up to it and just wanting to finish the game off. I shot it to the goalkeeper’s left into the corner. It was a pretty good PK for me so I was psyched about it. And we won, so that was the best thing about it.”
4. June 13, 1995 vs. Japan in Gavle, Sweden
At the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Lilly strikes an almost 40-yard free kick that swerves so viciously that the ‘keeper steps out of the way of the shot as it plows into the net.
Said Lilly: “I remember being excited that I scored and wanted to share it with (the injured and not playing) Michelle Akers because we always used to practice free kicks together.”
3. June 19, 1999 vs. Denmark in East Rutherford, N.J.
Lilly finishes the scoring in the USA’s 3-0 opening game win at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, powering a shot into the left corner in front of a sell-out crowd of 79,972 fans at Giants Stadium, where she watched her beloved Jets while growing up as a child
Said Lilly: “I just remember after scoring that goal, I had a lot of release of nerves and frustration because I had just gotten fouled before that and it wasn’t called. My next touch was the goal.”
2. Sept. 21, 2003 vs. Sweden in Washington, D.C.
In the opening game of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Lilly finishes a beautiful build up, running onto a back-heel flick from Mia Hamm to power a laser-beam left-footed shot into the left side netting from just inside the penalty area to make it 1-0.
Said Lilly: “It was just complete joy and it was special because it was the opening goal of the tournament.”
1. July 10, 1999 vs. China in Pasadena, Calif.
Lilly nails the third penalty kick into the upper left corner in the historic shootout of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, made even more important as China had missed their third attempt on the previous kick.
Said Lilly: “My first thought…the sound of the crowd was thundering. I was just engulfed by the noise. Then, wow…what a relief. I felt relieved because I knew I had done my job, then I got nervous for our next kickers.”
While it is virtually impossible for Kristine Lilly pick her 13 most favorite moments from an international career that began in 1987, like on the soccer field, she did her best, dug deep, and picked 13 that she really, really enjoyed.
KRISTINE LILLY’S TOP-13 FAVORITE GAMES/MOMENTS
13. Feb. 17, 1996 – Before a game against Sweden in Houston, Texas, Lilly hears the crowd singing the U.S. National Anthem. It is the first time she could really hear a crowd belt it out.
Said Lilly: “It’s always an honor to wear the U.S. jersey and when you hear the crowd singing the anthem it reminds you that we are all in this together.”
12. Jan. 16, 2006 – Lilly earns her 300th cap in a 3-1 win over Norway and scores on a brilliant direct free kick.
Said Lilly: “I just remember hitting being like ‘this is going in.’ And doing it against Norway, one of our biggest rivals, it was a great feeling. I hadn’t scored many free kicks so it felt good.”
11. July 10, 1999 – Brandi Chastain scores the winning penalty kick in the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final.
Said Lilly: “I remember watching her kick and because of our angle, we all knew the ball was going in before it hit the net. I think I jumped the highest I’ve ever jumped in my entire life. It was pure happiness.”
10. June 10, 1995 – The USA defeats Australia, 4-1, in the final group game of the 1995 Women’s World Cup.
Said Lilly: “This one was special because we had to score four goals to win the group and scored two in the last three minutes of the game, but even more so in that it was the first game of the tournament that my brother, Scott, had made it to. The stadium was pretty empty and before the game I knew he was there because he shouted…’Lilly sucks!’”
9. July 1, 1999 – The USA comes from a goal down twice to defeat Germany, 3-2, in 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinals in front of President Bill Clinton.
Said Lilly: “I remember after that game having a really good feeling that we were going to win the World Cup.”
8. August 23, 2004 – Lilly scores the first goal as the USA defeats Germany, 2-1, in overtime to advance to the Olympic gold medal match.
Said Lilly: “I remember being completely exhausted at the end of the game and grateful that we were about to play for a gold medal.”
7. July 14, 2007 – The USA faces Norway in East Hartford, Connecticut. The game is a special one for the U.S. captain and Wilton, Conn., native as Governor M. Jodi Rell signs a proclamation declaring the day “Kristine Lilly Day.” Lilly assists on the winning goal in the 1-0 victory.
Said Lilly: “It’s always nice to play back in your home state and to be honored with a day was pretty special. My family and friends were there and it was really nice to share that with them.”
6. May 7, 2000 – Kristine Lilly plays in her 200th match against Canada at PGE Park in Portland, Oregon and is carried off the field on the shoulders of her teammates.
Said Lilly: “I remember being nervous that they were going to drop me. And my parents were there to share it with me.”
5. May 21, 1998 – Before the match in which she broke the all-time caps record, passing Norwegian Heidi Stoere when she played in her 152nd game in against Japan in Kobe, the team gives her a standing ovation in the locker room.
Said Lilly: “I remember just being caught off guard because (then head coach) Tony (DiCicco) was telling the team that I was about to break the record and everyone just started clapping. It was one of those private moments behind the scenes with just your teammates.”
4. Nov. 30, 1991 – Winning the Women’s World Cup, Lilly looks into the stands and sees her father with an American flag sticker on his cheek and a smile from ear to ear.
“I just remember how proud he was. That made me feel great.”
3. July 10, 1999 – After the USA wins the 1999 Women’s World Cup, the injured and physically drained Michelle Akers makes her way back out to the field as the crowd chanted “Akers!, Akers! Akers!”
“When I heard the chants, I remember wanting her to be on the stage with us because she was such a big part of us winning. Then we saw her coming out onto the field and I knew it was a great moment for her.”
2. July 10, 1999 — Lilly leaps to clear a ball off the goal line in sudden death overtime to save the Women’s World Cup. Fan Yunjie of China had sent a header over Briana Scurry that was heading into the goal, only to see Lilly on the spot to head the ball away.
Said Lilly: “I remember looking at Julie Foudy as we ran back up the field and the look on our faces told that story. We started laughing…’Did that just really happen?’”
1. Aug. 26, 2004 – Atop the medal stand in Athens, Greece, with the other four ‘91ers, the five U.S. Soccer pioneers – Lilly Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy – leave their last world championship together as gold medallists.
Said Lilly: “I remember being so happy that we just won a gold medal, but I also knew that we would never stand there again as teammates. It was a very emotional moment for a lot of reasons.”