Less than a week after it was announced that Sky Blue FC captain and defender Christie Rampone had been called back to camp with United States Women’s National Team (USWNT), it was announced that she had declined the invitation.
Rampone, who is currently the most-capped active player in the world with 311 caps, was part of a 25-player roster that was called into camp in preparation for a pair of international friendlies against Japan in June.
"I really appreciate Jill [Ellis] inviting me in, but at this time, I don’t feel one hundred percent healthy enough to train and compete at that level," Rampone said in a statement released by the USWNT.
Last fall, Rampone suffered a knee injury, sidelining her for the last half of the Women’s World Cup Victory Tour. She underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in December and has been away from national team duties ever since.
Rampone had recovered enough to return to Sky Blue at the start of preseason, not missing any time with her club. Despite being healthy enough to play every minute in Sky Blue’s six games so far this season, Rampone did not feel her knee was healthy enough for the stress and rigor required to play at the international level.
"I’ve been able to manage myself and contribute to Sky Blue this season, which I will continue to do, but I also have an understanding of the level of fitness and health needed to push for an Olympic roster spot and I know I’m not there right now," Rampone said.
The news that Rampone did not feel her knee was fully healed yet may not be news to fans who have noticed Rampone wearing a sleeve on her left leg and knee in Sky Blue’s last two games. However, she has not seemed to be hampered by the injury while competing for Sky Blue.
The repercussions of Rampone's decision not to attend camp could be monumental for both her and the USWNT. Many people were speculating that this call up was the former-USWNT captain's last chance to make the roster for the Rio Olympics. Now it seems that, for the first time since 1996, the USWNT will be without Rampone in an Olympic tournament.
It also could very well be Rampone's last invitation to national team camp, as Jill Ellis seems to be looking to the future of the USWNT instead of the past.
Rampone’s absence from national team camp does have one benefit for Sky Blue FC fans, since it means she will remain available to play for Sky Blue against the Chicago Red Stars in Chicago on Sunday, May 29.