Q & A with Kelly Campbell
She''s one of the anchors of the undefeated soccer team''s vaunted defense. A junior from Gaithersburg, Md., Campbell was the Big Ten tournament''s defensive MVP last fall and helped establish school records for consecutive shutouts and consecutive scoreless minutes. She has started on defense for all but one match of her UI career.
Q: You''re a defender now. In high school, were you a goal scorer?
A: For my high school team I was a forward, and I kind of played all over (the field) before I got to college, so I pretty much know forward, midfield and defense. But I''m most comfortable playing defender.
Q: Do you miss being a forward and scoring goals?
A: No, not at all. My home is to be a defender, and that''s where I love it.
Q: You list your biggest thrill as scoring the game-winning goal against Penn State in the 2002 Big Ten tournament.
A: That was definitely a high. It was my first college goal – my only college goal – and plus, it was against Penn State, who we had never beaten before.
Q: This program is less than 10 years old, yet it is one of the best programs in the country. Does that surprise you?
A: No. For how much effort and dedication (coaches) Janet (Rayfield) and Eric (Bell) and Dale (Armstrong) have put in, it doesn''t surprise me at all. The girls come out every day and work hard, and it shows in the polls, in our stats, in our games. We are one of the best teams in the country.
Q: You''re from Maryland. Is soccer bigger in Maryland among school-age girls than Illinois?
A: Not at all. Soccer nationwide is big. East coast or West coast or Midwest, I think it''s pretty competitive all over.
Q: Soccer is very, very popular among young kids. Why?
A: It has a lot to do with – especially among women – the (U.S.) national team. Winning the World Cup, winning the gold medal, brought a lot to young girls, who want to be just like them.
Q: Favorite player on the national team?
A: Probably Christine Lilly. She''s full of energy, she''s always ready to go, she''s all over the field and she wants to win. Her dedication. Fitness. It''s all what a soccer player should be.
Q: Do you see some of yourself in her?
A: Energywise, yeah. I can play the whole game. A whole bunch of energy.
Q: Pro-Chief or anti-Chief?
A: Oh, wow. I''m kind of either-or. I''m not really into pro-Chief or anti-Chief. I don''t really stay involved with that.
Q: Bush or Kerry?
A: Not into politics either. I''m not Republican or Democrat.
Q: What''s in your CD player these days?
A: Before a game, pump-up music, upbeat. But when I''m by myself, I like to listen to whatever. Whatever calms me down, whatever relaxes me. Anything and everything. I don''t have one group or one person.