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Conditioning Interview: Kristine Lilly – Taking Control

PERFORMANCE CONDITIONING - A Newsletter Dedicated to Improving Soccer Players

Volume 17, Number 2: Page 1

Kristine Lilly with Athens Gold Medal, 2004

When Kristine Lilly retired from soccer in January, 2011 at the age of 38, she had played at the game’s highest level in four different decades. She played in five World Cups and three Olympic Games. She is a two-time world champion, a two-time gold medalist, a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and she played in 352 games for her county—more than any other person in the world. She is the second leading scorer in the world behind Mia Hamm.

Kristine was captain of the U.S. National Team from 2005-2007 and captain of the Boston Breakers of Women’s Professional Soccer from 2001-2003, and again from 2009 to 2010. She was a five-time all-star for the Breakers and in 2010, the team retired her #13 jersey.

Kristine played collegiately for the University of North Carolina, where she played in four ACC Championships, four NCAA Championships, held two captainships, and received four first-team All- America honors. She also had her jersey retired there.


For the purpose of the interview conditioning is defined as soccer-specific development of speed, agility, mobility, strength/stability, power, speed/power endurance and aerobic endurance through training, proper fueling and recovery methods to improve performance and prevent injury.


PC: You said that conditioning was the foundation of your career. Can you describe how you laid this foundation through your experience? Who was influential in shaping this process?

KL: The first person who put it into my head that conditioning was a lifetime commitment was Anson Dorrance of the University of North Carolina, who coached the Women’s National Team. I remember being in a team camp at Christmas time doing fitness tests. My attitude was, “Well it’s the holidays so we can train with that spirit.” However, I quickly learned that fitness and conditioning are a year-round commitment. It hit me more as I realized its importance and I adapted it as one of the things that I can control. You decide either to do it or not. As a result of this commitment, I made sure I did something every day (with the exception of recovery days) whether it was a sprint workout, 20-minute run or running stadium stairs.

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