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Portland's Stephanie Lopez Sits Down With ESPN.com

Sept. 12, 2007

ESPNU: What are you hoping to accomplish personally and with the team at the World Cup?
Stephanie Lopez: My main focus at the World Cup is our team's success, which means taking home the gold. I want to do whatever my team needs me to do in order to make that happen. I am focusing on just being a good left back: helping the defense keep the opposing team from scoring, and giving the ball to the forwards and midfielders on our team so that they can have as many opportunities to score.

ESPNU: How will your absence at the beginning of the season affect the rest of your college season?
Lopez: Missing games in your college season is hard because your team has already got a rhythm going. The hard part will be transitioning from one team to another, but it is still the same game and I will still have the same role of doing my job as a left back. I know that it will only help the transition since I will be at the top of my game since I will be coming back from the highest level of women's soccer.

ESPNU: What is the biggest thing you've learned from playing with the national team?
Lopez: Playing with the national team is one of the hardest things that I have ever done. The constant level of focus and intensity that you have to perform at day in and day out, is stretching. It takes a true professional to maintain the consistency that is demanded to play on this team. You really have to rely on the support system around you, your team and your family, in order to get through the tough days.

ESPNU: What is the biggest thing you've learned from playing for Portland?
Lopez: Playing for Portland has been a great honor in my soccer career. There is a certain pride that comes with playing college soccer and loving your program. Portland has taught me to take pride in how you play and in how you conduct yourself off the field. There is a value placed on not only being a good player but in being a good student and a good person because you represent the program and all of the people who support you.

ESPNU: What do you like to do when you are not playing or practicing sports?
Lopez: I like to be around the people that I love. Often soccer takes me away from my family, my fiancé, and the friends that I have at Portland. Whether it's having lunch together, watching movies or playing miniature golf, I love just being in the company of my loved ones.

ESPNU: What's in your iPod?
Lopez: I am not really up to date on my music, but when I do listen to my iPod, it's usually before games or after practice. I love listening to Shawn McDonald to calm me down and focus, and to pump me up I listen to Switchfoot.

ESPNU: How did you get started in sports?
Lopez: I started playing soccer when I was 5. My parents are athletes and love sports, so they encouraged us to play. I played soccer all of my life but only started to solely focus on it when I was in college since I played four years of basketball and two years of volleyball in high school. I think playing other sports helped me stay balanced and get a breather from soccer.

ESPNU: If you had to use one word to describe yourself, what would it be?
Lopez: Compassionate.

ESPNU: What is your favorite sports moment?
Lopez: My favorite sports moment is beating UCLA 4-0 and winning the national championship. It was even more special since my parents and my then-boyfriend were there to celebrate with me!

ESPNU: What is the strangest thing to happen to you on the court/field?
Lopez: During warmups we were jogging across the field in a straight line and I tripped on my warmup pants and fell on my face!