When Jill Ellis named her roster for two matches next month against Japan, many fans were excited to see one unexpected name:
Christie Rampone, Captain America, the last of the 99ers, the once-ageless defender who hadn’t played for the national team since September.
Turns out the cheers for Pearcie’s return were premature.
Rampone, who is recovering from knee surgery, has decided she’s not ready to return after all.
Even though she’s been a regular starter this year for Sky Blue FC, the 40-year-old defender “felt she was not physically ready for the rigors of international training and competition,” according to U.S. Soccer.
She was quoted as saying:
“I really appreciate Jill inviting me in, but at this time, I don’t feel one hundred percent healthy enough to train and compete at that level. I’ve been able to manage myself and contribute to Sky Blue this season, which I will continue to do, but I also have an understanding of the level of fitness and health needed to push for an Olympic roster spot and I know I’m not there right now. It’s not the right choice for myself or the team to put myself in that environment.”
As I said before, I’d be surprised if we ever see Rampone in the U.S. uniform again. She’ll be known — is already known — as one of the all-time greats. But time has taken its toll. Eventually, it always does.