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CHICAGO (Oct. 14, 2010) – Kate Markgraf, one of the most-capped players in the history of the U.S. Women’s National team with 201 games played, has retired.

A starter for the USA in the last six world championships, she played her last match for the U.S. National Team on July 17 against Sweden in East Hartford, Conn., and retires as one of the greatest defenders in U.S. history.

Markgraf gave birth to twins, Carson (girl) and Xavier (boy) in July 2009, which forced her to miss the inaugural WPS season, but she played almost every minute for the Chicago Red Stars in 2010. Markgraf had her first son, Keegan, in July 2006. Formerly Kate Sobrero, she married Chris Markgraf in 2003.

Due to her solid WPS season this year, Markgraf was called back to the WNT and played in three matches in 2010, pushing her career cap total over 200 and making her just one of seven players to reach that mark.

Markgraf was the least experienced starter on the ground-breaking 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team. She had just 27 caps when she started with Carla Overbeck in the center of the U.S. defense in the opening game of that historic tournament.

Always a gritty and athletic defender, she grew into a leader in the back for the USA and was a fixture in the starting lineup for over 11 years, missing significant stretches of games only when she was pregnant and recovering from childbirth. She finishes her career having started 187 of her 201 caps while starting for the USA in the 1999, 2003 and 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cups and on the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic Teams.

Her 201 caps rank seventh all-time in U.S. history and her 187 starts rank sixth. She earned her 100th career cap against Korea DPR in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup and her 200th on July 13, 2010, against Sweden in Omaha, Neb.

As a collegian, she started all 96 games she played at Notre Dame and helped the Fighting Irish to an NCAA title in 1995.

One of Markgraf’s most memorable moments came on Sept. 20, 2008, at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., when she scored what would be her only goal in a U.S. uniform, burying a penalty kick against Ireland.

Markgraf played in both the WUSA, where she played three seasons for the Boston Breakers, and in WPS, where she played this past season for the Red Stars.

The retirement of Markgraf leaves just three players from the 1999 Women’s World Cup squad still active in professional soccer: defender Christie Rampone, midfielder Kristine Lilly and forward Tiffeny Milbrett.

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ALL Sports

Denise J. Saul is the Founder/President of WSEN-Women's Sports & Entertainment Network.

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