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

(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.

If you could award the MVP to any player in the World Cup this year, who would it be and why? Homare Sawa from Japan. She helped her team win the gold medal and had the most goals of the tournament. I respect her as a player a lot. You’re known for your speed. How did you get so fast and how do you maintain that speed? I have always been naturally quick, but I've done a lot of speed training in order to maintain and improve my quickness. I do a lot of agility drills which help me with my footwork and change of direction. Do you listen to must during or before training or before a match? If so, what tunes really pump you up? I listen to music before games—it's usually Katy Perry. What's next for you? I'm looking forward to finishing off the season with my Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) team, the Philly Independence, this summer. Then I'll be preparing for the London 2012 Olympics while supporting PUMA's Project Pink initiative alongside Julie Foudy to help fight breast cancer. Now tell us: Does watching sporting events, like the World Cup, inspire you to amp up your activity levels?