Christen Press talks Inspiration World Cup and USWNT

It’s been quite a run for Christen Press, which is true of all the women on the United States Women’s National Team. In the summer of 2015, they won the World Cup, and Press had a hand in it, playing in four of the team’s seven matches and registering her first World Cup goal against Australia. She talked to us about growing up, sports, and family.

Press was born in the Los Angeles area along with her two sisters.

“I think my dad introduced me to sports,” she says with a wry smile.

“He was a football player in college, had dreams about going to the NFL, and then he had three daughters.”

Sports were always present growing up for Press:

“He loved that we were connected to sports. He was having us dribble the basketball in the back yard and trying to kick the soccer ball as high as we can and throw a football and tackle each other and run sprints and race … I think he gave me my love for competition and … that motivation to be better than the people I was playing with.”

It’s no surprise, then, that Press excelled at soccer in school. Nor should it be a surprise that she also ran track and played tennis. That drive to be the best led her to set a school scoring record in her junior season.

After high school, she was accepted to the powerhouse women’s soccer program at Stanford University. She started as a freshman and started setting records right away. By the time her four years were up, she had virtually rewritten the Cardinal record book. She is currently the all-time leader for goals, points, assists, and shots and holds numerous single-season records as well.

In 2011, she was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer) draft. She played a season before the league folded, whereupon her professional career took her to Sweden. Playing for Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, Press scored twice in her first league match, and finished the season second in the league in scoring. She also scored in the Swedish Cup final, defeating the league champions.

Those champions, Tyresö FF, were so impressed that they signed her in the offseason. She finished the 2013 season as the leading scorer in the league.

In early 2014, Press returned to the States, signing with the Chicago Red Stars, for whom she has 25 goals in 39 matches thus far.

But it was on the international stage that Press captivated imaginations. Which, again, should come as no surprise:

“I have pictures of myself, face painted, jersey on, waiting in line for autographs from Julie Foudy, from Mia Hamm. I was at the ’99 World Cup Final with 100,000 people there when they won in shootouts and I definitely think that that inspired me and paved the way for my career path.”

In the summer of 2015, that inspiration came full circle, as Press joined a host of other now-household names as the USWNT won their third World Cup and first since the infamous 1999 shootout victory. We’re thinking all that practice in the backyard paid off.



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