Libby Stout is a twenty-five year old American goalkeeper for the Boston Breakers. After playing last season with Liverpool, she has returned to the US and signed with Boston. Libby, who placed second in last month's USWNT Goalkeeper Pool, opens up about her time overseas and what brought her back stateside.
This interview is a follow up to the one conducted back in March, which is referenced later.
Liverpool finished first in the WSL in 2014 but dropped to seventh in 2015, just one spot above relegation. What happened last season? What does Liverpool need to do moving forward to get back to the top of the table?
Yes, unfortunately, we had a bit of a down year in the league. I think what really hurt us throughout the entire season were injuries. By the end of the year we virtually had our entire starting eleven, including myself, watching from the sidelines. I felt like we were also never able to find our rhythm through the season, as we would win one then lose one, and we had nearly a two month break for the World Cup. That being said, we fought hard to reach the semi-finals of the Continental Cup [a competition between the top two leagues in England], and narrowly lost out in advancing to the next round of the Champions League. So I wouldn’t say the season was a loss. I certainly learned a lot this year. Liverpool will do well under the direction of Scott Rogers. He’s a good young coach and I know he has big plans for the club and I wish him and the girls all the best.
Your manager at Liverpool, Matt Beard, took over the Breakers in September. Was a return to the US and following Beard to Boston your goal back then? How did the move back unfold?
When Matt told us he was leaving at the end of the year I didn’t immediately think it was a possibility to return to the States with him. It wasn’t until we sat down in a meeting and he let me know he’d like me to come. I did a lot of deliberation, but it became clear to me that the right move for me personally and in my career was to come home. And I’m very excited to be back and can not wait to get started in Boston!
Back in March you said, “I just think there is no better place to be playing soccer than here in England” in reference to why you’re playing in England and not rushing to come back to the US. What has changed for you now that you’re back to the US earlier than expected?
I think when I said that before it was more in reference to that fact that England is basically is a Mecca for soccer players and soccer in general. It is just a different culture that was really enjoyable to be a part of. But I could not have expected this chance to go back especially to continue to play for Matt, so I felt like it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I think playing here will give me a better shot at being seen by National Team coaches and scouts, and not to mention my family and friends will be able to see me play more often.
What are some differences in the NWSL compared to the WSL that you’re looking forward to?
I’m really not sure what the actual differences are between the two leagues, as I have never played in the NWSL. I do think that in general the American women tend to be a little bit more athletic and as a result the game may be a bit faster and more technical. I definitely think it will be a challenging league and it’s really great to see the league expanding again this year. The expansion is a great step for American women’s soccer continuing to build off the recent World Cup gold medal, which was an amazing journey to watch by the way!
How much time have you spent with the Breakers players thus far?
I haven’t actually spent any time at all with the team yet! I’m here in Kentucky during the off season, but all of my correspondence with the staff has been amazing and everyone very helpful. I’m very excited to get up to Boston in the new year and get the new season under way!