Christie Rampone was born in 1975 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but grew up in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, where she attended Point Pleasant Borough High School. She was a four-sport athlete in soccer, field hockey, basketball and track, and was the first New Jersey female athlete to lead her conference in scoring in three different sports. In basketball, she totaled 2,190 points during her high school career. As a result, Rampone earned all-state honors in soccer, basketball and field hockey.
Rampone continued her multi-sport accomplishments at Monmouth University in New Jersey, excelling at soccer, basketball and lacrosse. She finished her 80-game college soccer career with 79 goals and 54 assists.
Rampone joined the U.S. women’s soccer team in 1997 and has become one of the most decorated players in history. She has played with the U.S. team in four World Cup finals (1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011) and four Olympics (2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012), helping the Americans to gold medals at the past three events. At the 2012 Olympics in London, Rampone captained the U.S. team to a 2-1 victory over Japan in the final, playing all 570 minutes in six matches. At age 39, Rampone is second on the all-time cap (appearances) list with 304 and remains captain of the U.S. team.
Q. How did you get started in soccer?
Rampone: I started playing soccer at the age of 5. My older sister was playing on a team, so I decided, like so many younger siblings, to follow in her footsteps.
Q. What did your coaches (youth / high school) do to motivate you?
Rampone: My coaches were always challenging me to be a better teammate and individual on the field. That’s all I needed to be motivated! They also encouraged me to continue learning the sport I was playing.
Q. What about your high school experience is most memorable to you?
Rampone: My most memorable high school experience was during my freshman year. I was able to play alongside six seniors that were receiving full scholarships to play NCAA Division I women’s soccer. It opened up my eyes a lot about college, setting my goals high and understanding that the sport was global.
Q. What helped you (skills, people, etc.) succeed as a three-sport athlete in high school and college?
Rampone: The most important thing that helped me succeed playing three sports in high school and college was focusing on the sport I was playing at the time. There was no pressure from coaches or parents when I was overlapping. I could miss a training now and then with freedom to play and enjoy the sport in-season. The enjoyment of playing different sports throughout my life combined with the cross training I do now at 39 years old has helped me tremendously. I still love to play and have managed to never get burned out. Also important was the open communication between my coaches making the overall experience better.
Q. You have played at the most prestigious levels of soccer – the World Cup and the Olympics. Describe your experiences representing your nation.
Rampone: First and foremost, getting the chance to represent your country is probably the best thing you can do in any sport. Second, would be the indescribable feelings and emotions that come with competing in a world event. But it’s the journey, the preparation, the commitment and the dedication leading up that makes the tournament so powerful when competing for your country.
Q. What is the most valuable life lesson you learned from participating in high school soccer?
Rampone: The most valuable lesson I learned is that it’s all about the relationships you have with your teammates and coaches. When you’re on the field, you’re only as good as the people around you. That’s why I have always enjoyed playing team sports.
Q. Who is the biggest influence in your soccer success?
Rampone: My biggest influence has changed through my years of playing from my college soccer coach to former teammates to my trainer at home who helped me push through ACL and pregnancy recovery. Finally, my National Team head coach who brought my game to a whole new level and asked me to consider being captain of the team has been a big influence on my life. I believe you can take something from everybody through your experience in order to make yourself a complete player.
Q. As a mom, what advice do you give to your daughters about playing sports?
Rampone: Always make sure that you are giving 100 percent and enjoying the sport.
Q. With the hot topic of head injuries in athletics, what information would you want parents to be aware of?
Rampone: Parents should educate themselves on head injuries so they understand the signs when a child may have a concussion or brain injury. And even more important is to educate your child about possible feelings or symptoms they may experience when enduring a head injury.
Jeannette Bruno is in her first year as assistant principal at Marlboro High School in New Jersey after serving as supervisor of extracurricular activities at Colts Neck High School in New Jersey. She is a member of the High School Today Publications Committee.