This year's Team USA Women's Soccer team has plenty of expectations on its shoulders, many of which were put there by the team itself. The team has won gold medals in three of the last four summer Olympics, going back to 1996. The 1996 gold medal and an unforgettable 1999 World Cup win put the sport on map. Fort Lauderdale native Christine Rampone, also the team captain, is the last link to the 1999 World Cup winning squad.
After a disappointing finish in the World Cup, Rampone is preparing to lead her team to Olympic redemption. To her teammates, Rampone is the ideal leader for the task at hand.
Midfielder Heather O'Reilly explained to ESPN:
"Sometimes there might be a lot of opinions about how to play in a scrimmage or play a certain style, and Christie seems to always have, not necessarily the loudest voice, but the one that garners a lot of respect, and I think that it's just the perfect tone for the team."
Team USA plays its first game on Wednesday, July 25, against France. The gold medal and bronze medal matches are scheduled for Aug. 9.
For a complete schedule of events and dates medals will be awarded, visit NBC Sports' official Olympic website. For complete coverage from the 2012 London Olympics, keep checking this StoryStream and visit SB Nation's Olympics hub.