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December 22, 2008
Kristine Lilly takes a year off

All time caps leader Kristine Lilly took a year off from soccer to have her first child.
All time caps leader Kristine Lilly took a year off from soccer to have her first child.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Today, New England Soccer News begins its annual review of the year, looking back at the top 10 moments in the area from 2008. No. 10 on our list is Kristine Lilly taking the entire year off from soccer in order to have her first child.

In more than 17 years with the U.S. Women’s National Team, Kristine Lilly rarely missed a game, playing in what is by far a world record 340 matches. So, needless to say her decision to take an entire year off—on Olympic year no less, was big news.

Lilly took most of 2008 off as she gave birth to her first child, a daughter, last June. Her husband David Heavey is a firefighter in Brookline, Mass.

Lilly, 36, debuted for the USA in 1987 at the age of 16 and played 22 years for her country. In addition to holding the world record for caps, she has scored 129 career international goals, second only in women’s soccer history to Mia Hamm (158).

“I’m not closing any doors as far as soccer,” said Lilly at the time of her decision to sit out, “but for now, I’m focusing on becoming a mom for the first time and everything that goes with that experience.”
The National Team did not miss a beat with Lilly out of the lineup, compiling an all-time best 33-1-2 record while captured a second straight Olympic Gold medal.

Lilly, who played three years with the Boston Breakers in the Women’s United Soccer League, made her return to the national team in December, earning her 341st and 342nd caps in matches in the team’s last two matches of its Achieve Your Gold Tour.

She plans to play in the new Women’s Professional Soccer, with the Breakers.
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