CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Each Tuesday through the women’s soccer season, Charlotte49ers.com will feature alumnae of the program in celebration of the program’s 20th campaign in 2013. Former players were selected at random for the Q&A and the plan was to include all eras of the program, dating back to its inception in 1994.
This week’s edition features Christina Papp (1996-98). Papp, a Skurup, Skåne, Sweden, native, played her entire career for Robbie Church. She was a part of the school’s first NCAA Tournament squad in 1998, Conference USA Tournament title-winning team in 1998 and the tri-regular season championship program in 1997.
She started 56 of the 61 matches in which she played, netting 30 goals and chipping in 30 assists for 90 points. Eleven of her scores were game winners, while she recorded 168 shots during her three-year career.
She was tabbed as an All-America following her senior campaign, receiving third-team honors from Soccer Buzz and an Honorable Mention accolade by College Soccer Weekly. Both of the plaudits in 1998 made her the first All-American in program history.
She also was the first player in school history to garner Conference USA Player of the Year accolades, doing so in 1998, and five total All-Southeast Region Team mentions from either the NSCAA or Soccer Buzz, while collecting three-straight All-Conference USA First Team nods from 1996-98.
1. What factors led to your decision to attend Charlotte?
I didn't want to choose between playing soccer and getting a degree, so I didn't hesitate when coach Robbie Church called and asked if I was interested in UNC Charlotte. In Sweden, you don't play soccer at college, you play in a league and when I studied at Lund's University, I had exams on Saturdays, the same day as we often played games w/ my club team.
2. How did you see yourself grow as a soccer player and as a person during your collegiate career?
Well, as a soccer player I became more fit and learned to be more aggressive and physical, the American way of playing soccer. As a person I became more outgoing and got to know people from a lot of countries, including the U.S., of course, who taught me a lot and helped me a lot, so I could develop and get by in a new country, a lifetime experience. College gave me a second language, American English, which also gave me self-confidence and a lot of new friends.
3. What are some of your fondest memories of playing soccer with the 49ers?
Winning the Conference USA and the Conference USA tournament in Dallas (Farmers Branch), Texas, in 1998. And playing against UNC Chapel Hill with Mia Hamm watching us play in the NCAA Tournament (the same year). Also being rewarded as MVP in the Conference USA and 3rd team All-American (1998).
4. How often do you play soccer these days?
Unfortunately I can't and am not allowed to play soccer right now because of injurying my right knee badly twice. I belong to a club called Husie IF, where I played in 2010-2011 and the beginning of 2012 (Division 2 in Sweden).
5. Where are you currently living (city, state)?
I live in Brantevik (på Österlen) in Skåne, Sweden!
6. What is your current occupation?
I work with accounting, salaries and administration for a real estate company, and also a construction firm, located in Simrishamn (five minutes from Brantevik).
7. Do you have any family (husband/kids/pets)?
Yes, I have a "sambo" called Patrik Karlsson and we have a lovely daughter together called Tova Karlsson Papp who is seven-years old.
8. What advice would you offer to a current 49ers women’s soccer player?
Play with heart, great passion and HAVE FUN! Believe in yourself and follow your dreams!