Tonight, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will face China in the quarterfinals 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup – a rematch of the 1999 Women’s World Cup championship match, and the first time the teams will meet in a World Cup since then.
Fittingly, three members of the winning U.S. squad — former team captain Julie Foudy, midfielder Kristine Lilly and defender Kate Markgraf — have reunited, teaming up again to provide analysis for ESPN and espnW. The trio spoke with Front Row about the 1999 match and what it’s like to work together again.
What do you remember about the 1999 match against China?
KL: It was hot. I think for us it was a moment where we were like all right, we sold out the crowds and the stadiums at each game. Then we got to the final, and we knew how good China was. They had a lot of personality. We knew we were playing a good team. I was nervous for that game. I do remember that.
Now 16 years later, you are all together again. How does that feel?
JF: Oh! I love it. I think what’s great about it is when you’re sitting up there it’s like we’re working together as a team. It’s comfortable. It’s natural. I respect these two, so it’s nice to join them in front of the camera.
How has that translated to how you work together now at ESPN?
KM: Yeah, I still feel like the stepchild or the little sister with both of them when those two get going.
JF: Why? Because we’re so mature?
KM: No, just because you always kind of fell back into the role that you had.
KL: Well, I’m the rookie here.
KM: No, I’m always the rookie when I’m next to these two. It’s good though. I like that role.
JF: I make her get my lunch. Buy my coffee. Kate, go get me the water. No, it’s great. It’s so fun to be back with these gals. When Kate was gone for two days I was watching [World Cup matches] with the great [ESPN Stats & Info guru] Paul Carr. Although I love Paul Carr, there’s nothing like having a teammate next to you that you can swear at the TV with.
When you’re watching matches now as an analyst, do you watch them differently than you did as a player?
JF: Totally. The analyst mindset is much different from the player mindset. You’re having to watch more like a coach, or you try to.