Ali Krieger has been an instrumental figure for the United States women’s national team – but for unknown reasons did not take part in many matches for her country between 2017 and 2019.
Krieger has been apart of the USWNT for 11 years and has made 108 appearances. She played her part in the defense that helped the U.S. to back to back World Cup victories.
However, Krieger was dropped from the national team for about two years, playing on and off in 2017 and not featuring once in 2018. Krieger herself stated that she wasn’t injured and never figured out why she wasn’t being selected.
“I lost two years with the team and I didn’t really understand why,” Krieger said. “That was another moment in my life, in my career and my personal life, that was really difficult to overcome because you just didn’t have a reason.”
She added: “It was like breaking up with somebody and you never had closure because you didn’t really know the reasons why. I didn’t know really what to work on to improve in my game so that I can get back out there and practice and train and, and figure out how I can better myself to get back on the team. So that was a low moment I think for me.”
Just in time for the 2019 World Cup, Krieger played a full 90 minutes in a friendly game vs Belgium. She was selected in the World Cup squad and featured in three games, including the final vs the Netherlands that the U.S. won 2-0.
Krieger has played in the NWSL since 2006, which spans over her entire career, and believes that continuing to play at the club level helped her learn despite the difficult years she faced.
“There’s gonna be times where, you know, coaches might not like you,” she said. “You might go through fights with adversity and injury and you might not be playing your best at some points during your career.” “And you have to have that mental capacity and the positivity to really stay within the game and the level that you want to play at.
“There’s so many different moments. There’s so much to unravel, and all the layers piled on to just being an athlete 24/7 for this amount of time, you really have to be strong mentally.”