Friday, July 3, 2015

U.S. women's national team midfielder Lauren Cheney chats soccer and hoops

Lauren Cheney is famous for two reasons that you might have heard about.

U.S. women's national team midfielder Lauren Cheney chats soccer and hoops


PRINCETON, N.J. – Lauren Cheney is famous for two reasons that you might have heard about.

First, she's one of the top players on the U.S. women's national team. The 25-year-old can play a variety of positions, and has scored 18 goals in 63 national team games – including two big ones at last year's World Cup.

Second she's the boyfriend of 76ers guard Jrue Holiday.

I don't know which of those things would make you more likely to recognize her, but I do know Cheney isn't going away from the spotlight any time soon.

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We talked about life on the court and the field after Cheney and her teammates finished practice Friday morning at Princeton University.

I have to start with a question about your boyfriend. He's been in the spotlight throughout the playoffs, never more so than when he blew a kiss to the crowd after hitting a big three-pointer in Game 2 against the Celtics. What's it been like watching him play so well, whether from afar or in person?

I think it's awesome to be able to see. Obviously, I know that he loves the game, and to watch him play and grow – and he's playing well – I love to see that smile on his face when he's playing.

How has it been here for the national team? Two weeks is a long time to be together.

It's hard, obviously, to not have games and just have training. It's a grind. It's a testament to our team that we get along really well and like each other. It's good. We can't wait to have a game.

How much of a challenge is it for each player that the Olympics roster will be 18 players instead of 23, and how much does that add to the competitive spirit in training camp?

We all know that players who can make the team are going to be left behind. Thankfully, we're not the coach and we won't have to make that decision. I think it's competitive all the time, but this camp especially, knowing that the roster cut is coming up soon. The intensity level is extremely high.

Finally, Women's Professional Soccer has announced that it is shutting down. What are your reflections on the news, and where do things go from here?

I think it's sad. We're one of the top teams in the world, and we don't have a league in our own country. But hopefully the business design and everything else will change, and I have hope that we'll be able to have a league soon.

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The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, the National Women's Soccer League, the U.S. men's and women's national teams, and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Jonathan Tannenwald
Lauren Green Inquirer Staff Writer
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