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Christie Rampone is more than just her age

Commentators and journalists tend to focus on her age, but Rampone is so much more than a number.

Christie Rampone giving out some high fives
Christie Rampone giving out some high fives
Robyn McNeil

Christie Rampone is a lifelong athlete, a mother, a wife, a fighter.

She has compassion that stretches as far as the Garden State Parkway and a heart bigger than the Jersey Shore is long. Rampone is a self-proclaimed Jersey girl, growing up in Point Pleasant (Boro) and has been called the best athlete to come out of Ocean County, New Jersey.

And yet now, after all the accomplishments she's made in her life, she's reduced to a singular number: her age, 40.

Despite all the talking points that National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) commentators could bring up about Rampone during matches, they always focus on her age. But Christie Rampone is so much more than that.

In high school Rampone ran track and played basketball, soccer and field hockey. She scored 2,190 points in her high school basketball career and led her conference in three different sports in points scored.

Rampone attended Monmouth University, where she continued to play basketball and soccer while adding lacrosse to her repertoire. She was the holder of the Northeastern Conference Player of the Year in soccer for two consecutive years, leading her team in goals, points and assists. She volunteered as a coach in basketball and soccer and was called up to the United States Women's National Team (USWNT) camp during her senior year. She earned a degree in special education in 1996.

In 2005 she was awarded an honorary degree in Public Service from Monmouth University, who also inducted her into their hall of fame in 2007. After the 2008 Olympics, October 5, 2008, was declared Christie Rampone Day.

In 2001 while playing for the New York Power, she tore her ACL. She has come back from that strong, and despite her multiple knee injuries, she still plays a full 90 minutes with her club, Sky Blue FC. She has played in all three generations of women's professional soccer: the W-League, the WPS and, now, the NWSL. While she was playing for Sky Blue FC during the WPS days, she was a player/coach and led her team to a win in the WPS championship.

To date, Rampone has more than 300 international caps, the most of an active player in the world, male or female. She has two World Cup titles and three Olympic gold medals, among other accolades and awards.

Her teammates speak highly of her, and some players on her teams even call her Ma. She is warm and welcoming, and above all, she cares.

She has been named the first spokesperson for the sandwich chain Jersey Mike's. She coaches youth soccer while playing at the professional level. She suffers from Lyme Disease, which affects the body in many ways, but most commonly in fatigue and joint pain.

Christie Patricia Rampone, née Pearce, Pearcie, Captain America, Christie, Mom, Coach Rampone... All of these titles are synonymous with a home grown Jersey Girl from Point Boro.

Rampone is so much more than "the 40-year-old international defender." She is a wonderful person inside and out. Her kindness and gratitude knows no bounds. She is wise and imparts her wisdom on those around her.

Yes, she's a 40-year-old woman, but with so many other things to focus on, why focus on a number?