As the players wound down the first week of their 2012 preseason training leading up to the start of the 2012 WPSL Elite League season on May 10 against ASA Chesapeake Charge, they took out some time to answer your questions.
Defender Cat Whitehill:
What do you miss most about Birmingham, Alabama (where Cat grew up and attended Briarwood Christian School)?
Whitehill: "First of all, my family. I miss being out with my family and friends. Secondly, the food (in Alabama) is awesome. I miss the barbecue, the fried chicken. There’s no Chick-Fil-A up here, which is really sad. I miss my church, but I found a good one now."
What is it like having your former U.S. Women’s National Team teammate Kristine Lilly as assistant coach?
Whitehill: "It’s awesome. It was one of the most amazing experiences getting to play with her, win a gold medal with her, watch her play out her career. As a coach, you can see how great she is going to be soon. When you hear her speak, you hang on every word she says. She has such great wisdom as a player and now as a coach. The nice thing is, it’s not hard to look at her as a coach because she garners that kind of respect. Obviously she’s a friend of mine, but I respect her so much that I’m not going to treat her as a friend when it comes to the field; she’s my coach."
Midfielder Heather O’Reilly
Who is your favorite U.S. Women’s National Team roomate?
O’Reilly: "Great question! I’d probably say Rachel Buehler. She’s one of my best friends on the team, and she’s very diligent in everything that she does in terms of rehab, taking care of her body, so it motivates me. I loosen her up a little bit, and she keeps me responsible."
Did you ever get a second shot at the robot goalkeeper (back story: while with the U.S. Women’s National Team last month in Japan, O’Reilly and her U.S. teammates were on a Japanese game show and took a shot on a goal that had a robotic keeper, which saved every U.S. shot. When the show aired, they showed each player take one shot).
O’Reilly: "Haha, unfortunately, yes. We had two shots. The first one, I really went for it and tried to bend it top corner. I missed the frame. The second one (the one that aired on TV) I tried to juke out the goalie by having a slow-roller bouncer, and that of course got denied as well, but it was a lot of fun."
What was your experience like in Japan?
O’Reilly: "It was one of my favorite trips I’ve ever been on. First, the support for women’s soccer over there is incredible right now, and everybody was so welcoming. We had a fantastic time. Visiting the tsumani-affected areas was very powerful and a good lesson not to take anything for granted. It was definitely one I will remember."
Defender Taryn Hemmings
What’s it like playing on a team with such diversity, a mix of younger players and veterans and soon a couple of Australian players?
Hemmings: "It’s already been a really good surprise. The trainings have been great. It’s such a good mix of veterans and new college graduates. When the Australians (Kyah Simon and Tameka Butt) get here, I’m sure the level will get even better. I think it’s going to be a really good season for us."
What was it like winning the Westfield W-League Championship in Australia (Hemmings played for Canberra United this offseason)?
Hemmings: "It was awesome. I’ve never been on an undefeated team for the entire season, so that was pretty cool. To be able to go down there, it was fun and definitely worth it because we ended up winning the championship."
Assistant Coach Kristine Lilly
What is it like being a coach now rather than a player?
Lilly: "It’s easy! You don’t have to run! It’s good, a little weird, but it’s fun. I don’t have any desire to do the extra work that they’re doing. It’s fun now to try to help in a different way other than on the field. If I can help them get better and feel better about themselves on the field, then that’s good."
The Breakers’ home opener is set for May 18 at 7 p.m. at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, Mass. To purchase tickets, go to www.breakerstickets.com, or you can check out our schedule and click on the links to buy tickets.