One of the most accomplished players in the sport of soccer and certainly one of the most successful and decorated female athletes in United States history, Lilly remains the world's all-time appearance leader with 352 caps. Prior to her retirement as a player on Jan. 5, 2011, she played in five FIFA Women's World Cups (1991 champion, 1995 third place, 1999 champion, 2003 third place and 2007 third place) and three Olympic Games (1996 gold medal, 2000 silver medal, 2004 gold medal), helping Team USA win four of those tourneys, finish second once and third three times. Lilly was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2012 and the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 2014.
Lilly is the only player to appear for the United States in four different decades and is both the youngest and oldest player to ever score a goal for Team USA. She debuted for the U.S. at the age of 16 years and 12 days in just the 16th match ever played by the USA women on Aug. 3, 1987, making her the second-youngest player ever to don a U.S. jersey (Mia Hamm). Lilly also is the oldest player to earn a cap by more than three years over long-time teammate Joy Fawcett.
She served as captain for the U.S. Women's National Team from 2005-07. Prior to the 2008 Olympics, she played in every match the U.S. Women's National Team played in Women's World Cup and Olympic competition, and started all but one of those matches. Lilly scored 130 goals in her career, and she is the all-time leader in minutes played (28,700).
Throughout her 23-year National Team career, Lilly started in 330 of her 352 games played. Her 105 career assists are second only to Mia Hamm. During her career, Lilly played against 39 different countries, scored against 30 different countries, played in 21 countries and scored in 16 countries. She was named the U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year three times (1993, 2005 and 2006), and she finished second in the voting for the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year in 2006.
A four-year letterwinner at North Carolina (1989-92), Lilly was a four-time First-Team NSCAA All-American who helped lead the Tar Heels to four consecutive NCAA titles. The winner of the 1991 Hermann Trophy as the top women's college soccer player in the nation and a finalist for the same award in 1992, she was twice named the Offensive MVP of the NCAA Championship (1989 and 1990). Lilly also won the 1991 Missouri Athletic Club Player of the Year Award and was a finalist for the Broderick Award as the outstanding female athlete in all of college sports. As a senior in 1992-93, she was tabbed UNC's Athlete of the Year.
Lilly completed her collegiate career at UNC with 78 goals and 41 assists. She was named to Soccer America's Team of the Decade for the 1990s. Lilly had her UNC jersey number 15 retired by the school in 1994. She earned a bachelor's degree in communications from North Carolina in 1993.
A native of Wilton, Connecticut, Lilly is married to David Heavey. The couple has two daughters, Sidney (6) and Jordan (3).