By Alex Baker
SANTA MONICA, Calif. Christine Rampone has withdrawn from training with the United State’s women’s national team ahead of this summer’s upcoming Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil. The two-time World Cup winner has cited a lack of personal fitness as her reason for bowing out.
“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,” said Rampone in a press release issued by U.S. Soccer. “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.”
Rampone, who turns 41 next month, first won the World Cup in 1999 has 311 caps for the United States. However, the veteran defender who was also part of last summer’s successful World Cup campaign, missed the final five games of last fall’s Women’s World Cup Victory Tour after undergoing arthroscopic surgery for a knee injury.
She has since returned to action and has featured in all six games for her club side Sky Blue FC this season. But with just over two months remaining until the games kick off in Rio, it’s looking unlikely that Rampone will be able to take part in what would have been her fifth Games.
Having won two World Cups, three Olympic gold medals, and with a club career that’s spanned at least three different domestic professional women’s leagues, Rampone is a singular figure in the history of the women’s game.
She is also the last of The ‘99ers – the U.S. team that beat China at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena to capture the 1999 Women’s World Cup.
The USWNT faces a two-set game against Japan as part of its preparation for the Summer Olympics. No replacement for Rampone has been called up and Jill Ellis’ team well head to Denver for the first leg on June 2 with just 24 players.
Rampone however, is expected to return to action with Sky Blue FC, which resumes its domestic schedule when it travels to Chicago to face Chicago Red Stars at Toyota Park on May 29.