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Major #MondayMotivation From World Champs

Major #MondayMotivation From World Champs

We're still awestruck from the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team's World Cup victory — it was a history-making game and a record-breaking win. 

But those incredible goals weren't the only empowering moments of the tournament.

This year's tournament marked a major turning point for women’s sports overall. Among the groundbreaking statistics: Over 1.35 million people attended the competition, the Women’s World Cup pages of FIFA.com saw a 178 percent increase in daily viewership compared to 2011, and more people tuned in to a soccer game on Fox than ever before. (Nevertheless, this isn’t to say that we don't still have a long way to go.)

We recently had the chance to catch up with two of the World Cup champs and find out how they keep their heads in the game.

Team Captain Christie Rampone


Rampone

We talk a lot at SELF about what it means to #PlayLikeAGirl. What does it mean to you?
CR: I actually asked my older daughter that question and she was like, "I don't get it, mom. I play soccer, I run around. I go and I train." It's just awesome that she doesn't ever see herself as any different. There were a lot of signs at the stadium that said, "I want to play like a girl." It was really cool to see that message when you're running around the field celebrating at the end.

What was the scene like in the locker room after winning the World Cup championship?
CR: Oh, it was amazing! The locker room was something I’ve never experienced before. The champagne was flying and everyone was passing the trophy around and taking photos. It was exciting just to see the pressure be released and the pure energy and excitement and enjoyment of winning that World Cup. 

What are some of your most memorable moments from the tournament?
CR: Obviously, winning a world championship with the team — after it's been so long — and just hearing that final whistle was so unbelievable. Even more special for me was being there with my teammates as a captain and leader, but then to also have my kids run on the field with me at their ages [daughters Rylie and Reece are 9 and 5 respectively] and to understand it was just…unbelievable to me. For me it was more about them than myself. 

For women's sports in particular, are there any changes you hope to see?
CR: Hopefully, just the acknowledgement that women can play sports and that they can become popular. We hope everyone respects the fact that we put so much heart and energy into competing in the tournament and that it will trickle down to our pro league as well as the WNBA and other women’s professional sports.

What's next for you? Relaxing? Unwinding?
CR: It's funny, because I'm back to mom mode already and back in New Jersey. Hopefully, there will be a lot of buzz and appearances to help the game grow. This is a year when we need more support from sponsors and the fan base so that we can continue to grow and win more world cups and have more Americans playing and being the best team in the world.

We chatted with Rampone as she is gearing up with Jif to help raise money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America as part of the 2015 Kick It Tour. Reporting by Madeline Buxton.

Defender Kelley O'Hara

O'Hara

What does #PlayLikeAGirl mean to you?
KH: It means to be awesome. It’s just about having that confidence and just owning it and being like I’m a girl and I crush it in sports.

Describe the scene after you won the World Cup…
KH: All smiles. You know, we were just having a good time, had some champagne! We all just kind of took the time to enjoy ourselves and celebrate with our staff, with each other and with the trophy. It’s what you would expect it to be in the locker room after winning the World Cup.

What are some of your most memorable moments from this year’s World Cup tournament?
KH: Scoring that goal while in the semifinals against Germany was amazing. Even being able to get onto the field and try to help the team and help us hold onto a 1-0 lead was really exciting, but then to be able to score was just more than I expected; it was icing on the cake. And everything about the final — from start to finish and afterwards — was something I’ll never forget.

How do you fuel up and recover before and after each game?
KH: I try to eat a big breakfast. Then, throughout the day, my meals get a bit smaller because I don’t like to feel full going into games—so, maybe a salad or a sandwich for lunch. I’ll have a bar or banana before the game and then I drink chocolate milk afterwards. I try to drink it within the first 30 minutes because that’s the window for when you need to get the most out of your recovery.

O'Hara is part of the Built With Chocolate Milk campaign and is sponsored by the brand. Reporting by Meg Lappe.

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Photo Credit: Erik Isakson, Kent Nishimura and Kevin C. Cox for Getty