Two weeks ago, Kate Markgraf made her WPS debut after sitting out the 2009 season to give birth to twins. After the game (in which Markgraf played the full 90), a group of us were able to catch up with her and discuss her debut, her goals for the season, and what it was like to be back on the field.
First game back—what was it like?
KM: First game back, yeah. The quality of the league is pretty impressive, it’s definitely a lot higher than it was last year, granted I didn’t play last year, but I thought it was a good game and it shows us that if you let down for five minutes, they’re going to score. And our first five minutes, we let a goal in and it sucked to come back. NJ’s a great team, they’ve got great chemistry, they know how to win, they know how to keep the win.
How do you feel physically?
KM: I don’t think I’ve had so many muscles cramp up in my life as I did tonight. It’s my first game since December 2008 so I did everything I could control.
Did you get any advice from Christie Rampone who’s now going through the same thing?
KM: Oh that girl’s a rockstar. I swear, I’m surprised she’s not playing already. She’ll have no problem and she’ll be one of the best in the whole WUSA [WPS] within a day so; she’ll be fine.
Is it your goal to get back onto the National team or are you not thinking that far ahead yet?
KM: My goal is to help my team win. My goal is to help everyone around us and also for me to get better so we can win some games and do better than last year.
When did you deliver?
KM: I gave birth on June 20th,  so my twins are almost 10 months old.
What did you think of the team’s performance today?
KM: Our team’s performance. I think in the first half we had a couple of defensive miscues and that’s a lot of us getting used to playing with each other. But the second half I thought we did really, really well. We had more corner kicks and I thought we were pretty dangerous. And they were very dangerous as well. And I think it’s going to be a very good season for all the teams.
How much were you able to watch your team last season, and what was it like to just watch them?
KM: I watched them three games and I’d say the technical ability of the Red Stars. I was impressed with Sky Blue’s mentality and their way to stay together—they know how to play with each other, they are a very good team. I was just impressed, I think the level is extremely high.
Emma thought there should have been some PKs out there, what do you think?
KM: I think that every team that loses thinks there should be PKs. I mean, I’m like 60 yards away most of the time so I don’t see it. I’m sure they probably think there was a PK too. As long as it’s called the same, what can you do?
What was it like defending Kai and Kalmari?
KM: Natasha Kai is an explosive forward and then the other Finnish girl—she’s not small. So she’s tough to see and when she gets the ball she goes side on and she’s a great player. Rosana, when she came in—correct me if I’m wrong and that’s not her name—they’re all great players.
Was there a lull out there where you thought it’s fun to be out here again?
KM: I always have fun on the field. I have three kids—if it’s not fun, I’m retiring, so it was fun.