Crystal Lake player looks ahead after World Cup loss

After returning to the United States with the memory of Sunday's heartbreaking loss to Japan fresh in her mind, U.S. women's soccer team defender Amy LePeilbet has a lot of future games to worry about.

That and, of course, a gold medal.

The former Crystal Lake resident and member of the U.S. team that lost 5-3 on penalty kicks to Japan in the finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany, has upcoming professional league commitments with the Boston Breakers and then Olympic qualifiers to take care of in the winter.

The team will get a few days off from their Women's Professional Soccer schedules, then a few weeks off from national team commitments before regrouping in the fall in preparation for an Olympic qualifying tournament in Vancouver, LePeilbet said.

While the team is striving for a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, it is not seeking atonement for Sunday's loss, LePeilbet said.

"We are very proud of what we accomplished in the tournament," LePeilbet said via cellphone from New York City. "We came up a hair short of what we wanted. I don't think we look at the Olympics as redemption, but of course we want to win gold."

Despite the loss, LePeilbet, a 2000 graduate of Prairie Ridge High School, said "The team had an amazing tournament and an amazing journey."

"One of the most memorable things is that our team came together and we believed in each other through it all," LePeilbet said. "It was the 21 of us that made it possible and allowed us to accomplish what we did."

LePeilbet, whose family moved to Crystal Lake when she was 8, attributed her success on the world's stage to her coaches and teammates from her youth.

"I was having fun with the game," said LePeilbet, who still has extended family in the area. "I didn't have much pressure or stress and it is easy to play well when you're having fun. They all helped me achieve what I have."

Now, LePeilbet and the rest of the 21-member squad are basking in the spotlight. The team appeared on morning shows including the "Today Show" and "Good Morning America" on Tuesday, followed by an appearance on CNN.

"It's been pretty cool," LePeilbet said.

Suburban native on top of soccer world

Former Crystal Lake soccer standout Amy LePeilbet in action against Japan in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final on Sunday in Frankfurt, Germany. Revierfoto/imago/Icon SMI
United States’ Alex Krieger, from top left, Lauren Cheney, Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd and Rachel Buehler and, from bottom left, Heather O’Reilly, Amy LePeilbet, Christie Rampone, Shannon Boxx and Megan Rapinoe, pose for a team photo before Sunday’s final match against Japan. Associated Press
United States’ Alex Morgan, center left, and Abby Wambach celebrate after Morgan scored the opening goal Sunday during the final match between Japan and the United States at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany. Japan would go on to win. Associated Press
U.S. players celebrate scoring the opening goal Sunday during the final match between Japan and the United States at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany. Japan would go on to win after penalty kicks. Associated Press