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Tough weeks of training and games

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Kristine Lilly is the all-time appearance leader and third all-time leading scorer for the U.S. Women's National Team. The midfielder from Wilton, Conn., was a member of the U.S. teams that won the 1999 World Cup and 1996 Olympic Games. Lilly also played on four national championship teams at the University of North Carolina. Lilly is training for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Check out Lilly's diary every other week on CNNSI.com.

July 14, 2000
Hanover, Germany

Hello, all. I was going to say hello in German but I didn't know how, and Michelle Akers, my roommate, didn't as well. However, we got some laughs trying to figure it out. Well, I am a bit tardy on my entry, and since I have been in Germany I haven't been able to get online with my computer. It's been a bit frustrating. Michelle lent me hers to do this, so that was nice. Well, where did I last leave you all? I believe it was during the Gold Cup, which we ended up winning. YEAHHOOO!

It was the first ever Gold Cup, and we had games in Hershey, Pa., Louisville, Ky., and Boston. We played Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, and Brazil twice. We ended up tying Brazil in the last game of our group, and those of you who saw the game also saw me miss the penalty kick that would have won the game. Not a good shot, and I changed my mind, which is something you should never do and I did. But I'm over it. I was bummed for a day or so about it because you feel like crap. However, my teammates were great and said, "You'll get it when we really need it," and it made me feel somewhat better.

One thing that helped me get over it and feel better about taking kicks is the next day in practice we practiced some pk's and I made mine. It may seem like no big deal, but it gives me the confidence right away to know that I can score and will score again. Luckily enough, we won the tie game with Brazil on a coin toss (don't ask, don't understand the rule, out of the blue), so we ended up playing Canada for the semis, and Brazil played China. We beat Canada in Louisville and then went on to Boston to face Brazil in the final.

In Louisville it was nice because I got to see an old teammate and friend, Jen Mead. She is the assistant coach at the University of Louisville, and we got to hang out. She is a great girl and very funny. So we go to Boston, the place of my professional career with the WUSA, and had a great crowd on July 3. We ended up beating Brazil 1-0 on a great goal from Tiffeny Milbrett. It was a great game that left me tired and bruised. I had some family there, so it was awesome -- and even my grandma came and she had just turned 89. So we won the tourney and made progress in our preparation for the Olympics.

Right after the Gold Cup we had break from July 4-12. I spent the fourth with my brother in Tampa and his girlfriend. We went to the beach. I worked on my tan to get it back after losing it in Australia, we went to dinner, I played golf twice with my bro, but I was absolutely terrible and very fortunate I am good at soccer. I took some days off since my body needed some rest after a tough three weeks of training and games. My brothers I went to go visit my friends Elizabeth and Frank and Frankie Jr. and my new goddaughter, Mary. It was a great weekend with them, and I held little Mary while she slept and even changed some diapers. It was great to see my friends and have some quality time. Thanks for a great weekend, guys. See you soon.

So finally I went home for two days before I headed off to Germany with the team. I got two days to unpack, do laundry, pay bills, see my parents and my grandma and get my life in order. Not much time but I got some things done and now I'm on the road again with the team.

We have only been here two days and it has seemed like a week. Some days can seem very long and the weather has been rainy (shocker), and we don't have a lot around us. However, we have gotten some entertainment from the kids. Joy and Carla's kids dressed up in clothes and then went around pretending to trick or treat and they were so cute. We have spent a lot of time trying to connect to the Internet since Germany has digital and our modems are not working. Well, mine isn't, which is a bummer. So if any of my friends out there are trying to e-mail me and I am not responding, now you know why.

Finally, Michelle, Brianna and Carla have joined the team for this trip, and it is nice to have them back around. They have been doing rehab for injuries and are moving along nicely. Our two practices have been good, and we busted our butts the first day doing some fitness at the end. Our first game is Sunday against Norway, and I think our game is on either on pay per view or FoxSports. So try to find it on Sunday.

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July and is doing well. I have taken some time these past three weeks to look ahead to the Olympics. The team hasn't been named yet, but the excitement is here. The one thing that I love about being on a team -- and this team in particular -- is the camaraderie. The time we spend off the field laughing and sharing our lives makes you feel good. Then there's on-the-field stuff, working hard for each other, doing your share and setting a goal and wanting to achieve it. Also there are those days when things don't go right, and you have people there for you. We are not perfect, and we do make mistakes and have bad days, like my penalty kick miss in the Gold Cup. But we have each other to make those days not so bad and to help us realize that we are only human.

Until next time, remember that no one is like you and no one is perfect. Find compassion and sympathy for others in rough times and you will help that person immensely.

Take care,

-- Kristine


 
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