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World Cup

Kickin’ It At the World Cup: Reflections From Soccer Player Amy Rodriguez

Written on July 28, 2011 at 9:48 am , by

(Photo courtesy of PUMA)

Amy's not just going to hand the ball to her opponents. (Photo courtesy of PUMA)

A few weeks ago, all eyes turned to women’s soccer. The sport that rarely gets the attention it deserves (those ladies are serious athletes!) finally got its due when the U.S. team made it all the way to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals against Japan. The Japanese won in a nail-biting shootout, but the tenacity of the Americans throughout the tournament surely inspired a new generation of soccer enthusiasts stateside.

Since coming in second place is still a “win” in our books, we wanted to catch up with one of Team U.S.A.’s stars, Amy Rodriguez, about her feelings post-World Cup.

What has been the most memorable part of this year’s World Cup experience for you?

Winning the quarterfinal game against Brazil. It was so dramatic, exciting, and exhausting. My team worked so hard to come back and tie the score up in the last minute of double overtime. Winning in a penalty shoot out made the game even more memorable.

It was amazing to see and feel the support we got from fans in the U.S. while we were in Germany, and I hope the excitement around women’s soccer is something that will keep growing!

Which is more exciting: The Olympics or the World Cup?

They both are in their own way, and both only come around once every four years. The World Cup is exciting because it is a soccer-specific tournament and the best 16 teams in the world compete. All different sports compete at the Olympics, including soccer, so the events are filled with the world’s best athletes.

Keep reading to find out how Amy trains her quick feet and to discover what artist pumps her up before a match.

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World Cup Fever: Former Soccer Pro Julie Foudy Talks Performing Under Pressure

Written on July 15, 2011 at 6:05 pm , by

She may no longer play professionally, but Julie Foudy still knows how to have a ball. (Photo courtesy of PUMA)

She may no longer play professionally, but Julie Foudy still knows how to have a ball. (Photo courtesy of PUMA)

For the past three weeks, the FITNESS crew has been captivated by the amazing action on the field at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. The incredible agility and endurance on display each match takes us back more than a decade, when women’s soccer burst onto the world stage after Brandi Chastain gave her famous sports bra show at the 1999 World Cup. So how fitting is it that we were able to connect with one of Brandi’s teammates (and one of our favorite sports icons of all time) Julie Foudy?

After retiring in 2004 and being inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007, Julie now keeps busy as a mom of two and a soccer commentator for ESPN. We caught up with her—she’s over in Germany for the World Cup as we speak and she’ll be doing commentary for this Sunday’s final match!—to hear about her impressions of this year’s team and how the sport has changed since she first stepped on the field.

The U.S. Women’s team is headed for the finals this Sunday against Japan! What are your impressions of the team and their performance so far?

Their courageous play has been awesome to watch. During the game against Brazil, they had to go a player down for almost an hour. They were still able to gut it out given the referee, some of those calls and everything else—it was tremendous. I think they can win it all, but the next level will not only involve that mentality, athleticism and great fighting spirit, but will also require combining in a little more possession play, especially against the Japanese team that’s so good.

Who do you see as the rising stars of U.S. women’s soccer?

Lauren Cheney is a name people are less familiar with, but she’s had an awesome World Cup. Lauren’s played from the middle of midfield to outside midfield, but her natural position is forward, so it shows how versatile she is. The youngest player on the team, Alex Morgan, scored a goal against France and scored it with class, I think. And Amy Rodriguez had an awesome game against Japan in May. I think their style suits her, so she’ll probably have a great game on Sunday. She has a confidence boost from playing well against them in the past. Amy may end up getting her first World Cup goal on Sunday, and that would be great to see!

Keep reading for more about Julie Foudy’s top career memory and her tips for keeping cool when the pressure is on.

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