- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2002

Siri Mullinix received the call on Tuesday, but her performance on July 24 made the phone ring.
U.S. coach April Heinrichs called Mullinix earlier this week to invite her to the U.S. national team's training camp in Columbus, Ohio, for a Sept. 8 friendly against Scotland. Heinrichs, a casual observer during the Freedom's 1-1 draw against the Boston Breakers on July 24, needed to see the magnificent goal-tending display in person to offer Mullinix a spot.
In that game, Mullinix saved 13 shots tying her own league single-game record and helped keep the Freedom undefeated during their season-ending 10-1-2 run.
Perhaps the best goalkeeper in the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA), Mullinix has struggled with injuries this season. Offseason shoulder surgery shelved her for the first five games of this season, and then she fractured her left hand on a punch-out in a game against the New York Power on June 29.
Guess what? Mullinix still wears her splint from the Power game as sort of a good-luck charm, even though she probably doesn't need it.
"It's just my safety blanket it's been working, why change it?" Mullinix said.
Mullinix has had an up-and-down season with her injuries. Dawn Greathouse started the first five games and the Freedom went 2-3. Greathouse was waived, Mullinix started the next eight games and went 3-2-3 before breaking her hand.
Mullinix, who has 30 caps, hasn't seen a lot of the national team since the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She was called into one national team camp last July, but injuries have kept her out of subsequent camps, until now.
"She certainly has a lot of experience. Playing in a World Cup or an Olympic final, she has that kind of experience to draw upon," Freedom coach Jim Gabarra said.
There is probably no better goalkeeper in the WUSA than Mullinix. Her 1.19 goals-against-average (second in the league) and league-leading 80.8 save percentage speaks volumes.
"I don't think anyone can argue that she is one of the best goalkeepers in the league and I would say probably even in the world at this point," Freedom captain Jen Grubb said. "Point-blank saves, balls in the air and her attitude is outstanding. She is going to save any kind of breakdown that we have."
Heinrichs will undoubtedly watch more WUSA games given Mullinix's performances. Other than Atlanta Beat goalkeeper Brianna Scurry who was the 1999 World Cup-winning goalkeeper it's hard to argue that there is a more athletic, agile, and acrobatic goalkeeper than the 5-foot-8 Mullinix in this country. Heinrichs likes San Jose CyberRays keeper LaKeysia Beene, whose WUSA numbers are not even close to Mullinix's.
"In practice, you get way more opportunities to score on goal than you do a normal game, so you score a little bit more often than you would tend to think happen," said Freedom forward Abby Wambach, the WUSA Rookie of the Year. "Siri is commendable. She's coming back from two injuries this season and has given us stability in the back that makes us confident that we are not going to get any goals scored against us."
Mullinix says she's healthy, and now she's representing her country.
"At the end of the season last year, I got a week off and then the next camp started and I had surgery, like the day the camp started," Mullinix said. "That knocked me out until this most recent camp and I broke my hand the day before that camp. For whatever reason, it's been a year since I've been back in with them [U.S. national team], so I'm excited."
Forwards Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach and defender Jen Grubb all made second-team WUSA. Despite reaching the Founder's Cup final, no Freedom player made the first team.

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