Rampone’s return

christie pigtail flying white

Christie Rampone vs. Mexico, Oct. 24, 2014. (Steven M. Falk/Philadelphia Daily News)

I admit that I never expected this. U.S. coach Jill Ellis has selected her roster for two friendlies in June against Japan, and Christie Rampone is on it.

The once-ageless former captain hasn’t played for the United States since September, when she left the women’s World Cup Victory Tour to have arthroscopic surgery on her right knee.

But in truth, she played almost no role on the team through all of 2015, appearing in just seven games, only two as a starter, for a total of 300 minutes. In the 2015 World Cup, she made just two brief appearances, coming on in the 80th minute of a 1-0 victory over Nigeria in the group stage, then, in a largely ceremonial gesture, taking the field for the last four minutes of the 5-2 triumph over Japan in the championship game.

christie julie nigeria wwc

Christie Rampone and Julie Johnston after the U.S. win over Nigeria on June 16, 2015. (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA Today Sports)

With Rampone’s center-back spot more than ably filled by Julie Johnston, I thought the next time we heard from the last of the ’99ers would be when she made her retirement announcement.

But the knee surgery was a success, and the 40-year-old has started and played every minute of the first five games of the season for her club team, Sky Blue FC.

From the 25-player roster, Ellis will select 18 players to suit up for each of the two matches against Japan:  On  June 2 in Commerce City, Colo. (8 p.m.CT on Fox Sports 1) and June 5 in Cleveland. (11:30 a.m. CT on ESPN2).

 

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