Lilly Elected to Hall of Fame

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.com

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.com

The first time to proved to be the charm for U.S. Women’s National Team legend Kristine Lilly.

On Monday, the most capped player in soccer history was elected the National Soccer Hall of Fame in her first year on the ballot.

The longtime U.S. Women’s National Team star, who collected a record 352 caps during her 24-year career, will enter the Hall this year with former U.S. Men’s National striker Brian McBride and former U.S. head coach Bob Bradley.

“One of the most humbling parts of this is being inducted with so many of the greats that came before me,” said Lilly in a statement on Monday. “It’s always an honor to be recognized for something you’ve done, especially for something we did for so long on the U.S. team. It was amazing to wear that U.S. jersey for so long, and I’m forever grateful for the time I was able to play and really grateful for this honor.”

Lilly kicked off her international career in 1987, and went on to play in five Women’s World Cups and two Olympics. She helped the U.S. win the 1991 and 1999 Word Cups, and collected gold at the 1996 and 2004 Olympic Games.  Her 130 career goals at the international level ranks third all-time behind Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.

At the club level, the Connecticut native played five seasons (2001-03, 2009-10) for the Boston Breakers, and had her number 13 retired by the team in 2011.

“You cannot speak about women’s soccer in the U.S. without mentioning one of its biggest pioneers, Kristine Lilly. This is an incredible accolade and one that is very much deserved,” Boston Breakers general manager Lee Billiard said in a team statement on Monday. “On behalf of the Boston Breakers organization and all of our fans, we congratulate ‘Lil’ on her recognition and entrance to the Hall of Fame. She is an amazing person and an incredible athlete.”

The date, time and location of this year’s induction ceremony has not yet been announced. In recent years, the ceremony has been held in conjunction with a high-profile U.S. Men’s National Team match.

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About Brian O'Connell

Brian O'Connell serves as editor and staff writer at New England Soccer Today. He's also the Revolution beat writer for ESPNBoston.com, and is Officer at Large for the North American Soccer Reporters. He regularly contributes to The Associated Press, and has been featured on MLSSoccer.com & RevsNet.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianOConnell21 or contact him via e-mail at BOConnell21@aol.com