New England Soccer Today

Legendary Lilly Named Breakers Assistant

Former Breakers' star Kristine Lilly returned to the Breakers on Friday - this time, as an assistant coach (Photo: Chris Aduama/

Kristine Lilly, the most capped player in soccer history, was named as assistant coach of the Breakers, the team announced on Friday.

The long-time U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder/forward, who collected a record 352 caps for the U.S. from 1987-2010, also spent five seasons with the Breakers (2001-2003 and 2009-10) before retiring prior to the 2011 season.

Now, just over a year after calling it a career, Lilly will join head coach Lisa Cole on the sidelines as the team embarks on its first season in WPSL Elite.

“I’m excited to work with the Breakers this year and continue to help promote and grow the game of soccer,” Lilly said in a statement. “My professional playing career has only been with the Breakers, and now it’s nice to join the team as a coach.”

The Wilton, Conn. native played a key role in the formative stages of the U.S. women’s program. Featuring alongside Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Brianna Scurry and Brandi Chastain, she helped spearhead the squad to the 1991 and 1999 Women’s World Cup championships. In fact, it was Lilly’s key clearance in the 1999 final that helped the U.S. keep China off the board before Chastain famously sealed it on penalties.

After her World Cup heroics, she signed with the first incarnation of the Breakers – then a member of the newly-formed Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA). In three seasons, she played in 59 games and collected 14 goals before the plug was pulled on WUSA after the 2003 season.

The following year, she appeared alongside Hamm and Foudy for one final hurrah as the U.S. women collected their second gold medal (the first coming in 1996) at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Lilly sat out the 2008 Olympics due to the birth of her first child, but returned to action in 2009 as the Breakers re-launched as a part of a new women’s league – Women’s Professional Soccer.

Wearing the captain’s armband in 2009 and 2010, Lilly was instrumental in the Breakers’ success both on and off the field. In 2010, the Breakers earned a trip to the League semi-finals all the while the team became the only WPS franchise to average over 4,000 fans per home game.

But after the 2010 season, the then-39-year-old decided to call it a career. And what a career it was. After earning her first cap at age 16 in 1987, she played in five World Cups, three Olympic tournaments, and played in both WUSA and WPS. She scored 130 goals at the national team level, and earned All-Star nods in domestic play.

With Lilly aboard, the Breakers add more than one of the most experienced soccer players ever. They welcomed back a member of the family.

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