Christie Rampone: WPS's return is crucial for U.S. women's national team future

The defender believes that other nations are catching up and the U.S. needs a domestic league to develop talent.
NEW YORK -- United States women's team captain Christie Rampone is concerned that the future of the national squad will depend on whether or not WPS returns.

The North American women's soccer league announced earlier this year the suspension of the 2012 season in order to focus on resolving several legal issues due to a dispute with a former owner.

"I think soccer on the women's side has been successful. We've been top three in every tournament that we've entered," Rampone told  "But all of the countries are catching up and I don't want for us to struggle to realize that we need a league here."

Rampone is hoping that if the U.S. women's team has success in the 2012 London Olympics, fans will campaign for the league's return. But if WPS doesn't make a comeback, the 36-year-old MagicJack defender is concerned that some players will be lost in the cracks.

"Players become good after they leave college," said Rampone, who added that she hasn't heard any updates about the league since its suspension was announced in January.

Women's soccer has been a major success on the national level in the United States, especially after last summer's World Cup performance. Rampone remembers all of the adulation that the U.S. received on its return from a tough loss to Japan in the final.

"It was pretty amazing," Rampone stated. "We came home here and we were completely embraced in America. I think the tournament showed our perseverance, our fight, everything that the team aspired to be."

She added,  "Coming back and being household names, having Abby [Wambach], Hope [Solo] and Alex [Morgan] brings more awareness to the sport and hopefully that can follow into the Olympics."

Rampone also believes that after losing in the final, a game that the U.S. dominated in, the team is hungry to get Gold this summer.

"We are very motivated. I think reaching the finals of the World Cup is amazing for our team. Not finishing it off when I thought we had the better game, we missed some opportunities to score early on in the game," said Rampone. "We realized that we can't just show up for games, we have to put everything into it. I think we've taken  that as a motivation, that we were so close."


With 256 caps to her name, Rampone will be entering her fourth Olympic tournament for the Red, White and Blue. While she admits that she doesn't know how much more she has in the tank, she is still passionate about being involved in the competition.

"It's exciting, every experience has been different. I've been a captain of the last team, so I understand the leadership role," Rampone said.  "It'll be great to play in London in front of an enthusiastic crowd that really loves and knows the game of soccer."

Rampone spoke to as part of the U.S. Soccer Federation's charity, Soccer for Success and Citi's Every Step of The Way program. Soccer for Success helps inner city children get into the game with clinics and mentors.