NOT A NATURAL
At six-years-old, Meghan was not a starter – ever. “The coach would be like, ‘We’re going to put in Meghan’ – and everybody would be like, ‘Great, now we’re going to lose.’ I was that bad,” says Klingenberg.
She blames it on being timid and shy, on not understanding anything about the game. “It was embarrassing. I was shut out from the team because I wasn’t good enough. Those are hard feelings to deal with regardless of what age you are,” says Klingenberg. “I basically thought, I have to be better at this if I want friends.”
In an effort to make her less timid, Klingenberg’s father signed her up for Taekwondo. “People kind of looked at you funny if you’re a girl, but I liked it so much that I just threw all inhibitions to the wind. It was so good for my confidence across the board. I was like, ‘Why do I care, if it really makes me this happy?’” She’s now a third-degree black belt and is definitely no longer shy. “I used to hide behind my mom’s leg – now my mom’s like, ‘What happened to you?’ I think she liked me better back then,” jokes Klingenberg, affectionately known as ‘Kling’ by those close to her.
Kling and her younger brother Drew constantly played in the basement. “I always beat him; except this one time. I was losing… and I was a very competitive little kid, and I got so ticked off that I pushed him into the wall. Unfortunately, the wall had a corner – his head just cracked open. It was bleeding and I was like, ‘You cannot tell mom about this.’ But we did, and we had to take him to the hospital. Nothing ever really changed after that. I was competitive, which made him competitive, which made me more competitive – it was just kind of this cycle.” Drew, an incoming senior on Penn State’s soccer team, who is still Kling’s go-to training partner, credits his sister with his own success. “I completely attribute me playing soccer to her,” says Drew.
Full name is Meghan Elizabeth Klingenberg … Nickname is “Kling” or “Klingy” … Majored in business administration … Twice named to the Dean’s List … In German, Klingenberg means “The Blade Mountain” … Is a third-degree black belt in taekwondo … As a budding thespian, she performed in a Pine-Richland production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats,” a masterpiece that won an award for best high school musical production in the Pittsburgh area … Member of National Honor Society in high school … In 2015, she was named the winner of the prestigious Dapper Dan Sportswoman of the Year award in her hometown of Pittsburgh … Away from the field, she likes to spend time biking, reading, singing, dancing and cooking … Never drinks pop, frequents the deli counter for chipped ham, and likes to go “dahntahn” to watch the “stillers” and the “guins” n’ at … Younger brother Drew play four years of soccer at Penn State … Favorite athlete is Michelle Akers … Favorite movie is The Sound of Music … Favorite place she’s visited was South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Rome … Favorite Swedish word is fika which means having a little coffee and dessert with friends … Says she has mastered the art of fika … Favorite Swedish dessert is kanelbullar, which are Swedish cinnamon buns … Quirky fact: she loves black licorice, “it’s the best candy to have at the movies because you never have to share” … Makes a mean batch of hummus with Christen Press (extra garlic, please) … #FollowMe @meghankling across all platforms.
An industrious and gritty defender with the skills to make quality contributions on offense, Klingenberg earned her way onto the National Team after a successful stint Sweden playing club soccer … Broke into the WNT consistently upon her return to play in the NWLS when the new league launched in 2013 … 2015: A member of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup champions in her first World Cup tournament at the senior level, she played every minute of all seven games … Named to the FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team … She pulled off one of the highlights of the tournament when she headed a shot from Sweden captain Caroline Seger off the underside of the crossbar before it was cleared away to preserve a key draw in group play ... Played in all 26 games for the WNT in 2015, starting 23 and playing the third-most minutes on the team with 1,970 ... Scored her first goal of 2015, and second of her international career, on a spectacular shot from outside the penalty area during the USA's 4-0 victory against New Zealand on April 4 in St. Louis (she was one of three defenders to score in that game) ... Key piece of the USA's back line during the Algarve Cup, appearing in all four matches and starting three to help the USA capture its 10th title after defeating France 2-0 in the Final on March 11... Scored the third goal of her career against Costa Rica in her home town of Pittsburgh on Aug. 16 in front of more than 44,000 fans during the opening game of the Victory Tour and celebrated by grabbed a famed “Terrible Towel” from head coach Jill Ellis near the sideline and waved it to salute the crowd … Assisted on the equalizing goal against Brazil during the Victor Tour on October 21 in Seattle ... Became the 51st player to earn 50 caps for the U.S. WNT in the final match of the year against China … 2014: Cemented herself as a candidate to play left or right back, started 17 of 18 games played, both career highs in a calendar year … Was fifth on the team for field players in minutes played with 1,325 … Notched her first international goal at the senior level with a goal-of-the-year level long-distance strike against Haiti during World Cup Qualifying … 2013: Played in four matches, starting three … Foot injuries kept her out of action toward the end of the year … 2012: Did not play a match for the U.S. WNT, but was named an alternate for the 2012 Olympic Team and traveled to the U.K. with the gold-medal winning squad … Had shoulder surgery at the end of the year … 2011: First call-up to the senior team came for a training camp in January of 2011, and she earned a spot on the roster for the Four Nations Tournament in China … She earned her first two senior team caps at the Four Nations, playing against Canada and China off the bench as a late-game sub … Youth National Teams: Played for the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team in 2009 and 2010 … A key member of the USA’s 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup champions … Played every minute of her five starts in the tournament including all 90 during the World Cup Final victory against Korea DPR … Ended her U-20 career with 16 caps and one goal, that scored against Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament … She played every minute of all five matches at the U-20 Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament … Played for the USA at the U-17 and U-16 levels in 2005 and 2004 … First Appearance: Jan. 23, 2011 vs. Canada … First Goal: Oct. 20, 2014 vs. Haiti
Allocated to the Boston Breakers for the 2014 NWSL season, but was then taken with the sixth selection of the 2014 NWSL Expansion Draft by the Houston Dash … In a rare twist, she moved to the Portland Thorns in the off-season also through the Expansion Draft via a trade with the Orlando Pride … She was the first pick in the Expansion Draft … 2015: Started all 12 games she played for the Dash covering 1,046 minutes and had two assists … On Nov. 2, she was acquired by the Portland Thorns as the top selection in the NWSL Expansion Draft as part of the completion a trade with the Orlando Pride that sent Alex Morgan to the Florida expansion team … 2014: Started all seven games in which she appeared for the Houston Dash, playing a total of 607 minutes after returning from her Swedish club … 2013: Played her second season with Tyresö, starting 17 of the 20 matches in which she appeared while scoring once … Helped the club win its Round of 32 UEFA Women’s Champions League series against French power Paris Saint-German and Round of 16 series against Danish club Fortuna … In the second leg against Fortuna, her free kick service led to a back-heel flick volley goal for U.S. teammate Whitney Engen … 2012: Played eight matches for Tyresö in Damallsvenskan in Sweden and in her first season with the club, Tyresö won the league and qualified for Champion’s League … Tyresö won the league in the last game of the season over rivals LdB Malmö … 2011: Taken third overall in the 2011 WPS Draft by magicJack, but after seeing action in just two games, she was traded in early June to the Boston Breakers for Nikki Washington … She played 10 matches for Boston, starting them all and totaled 961 minutes for the season … It didn’t take Klingenberg long to make an impact on the field once she came to Boston, as four days after the trade, and in her first game as a Breaker, she scored what proved to be the game-winner in a 2-1 victory at home over her former club and also assisted on the first goal of the game … She totaled one goal and two assists on the season … Youth: Played youth club for Penns Forest FC from U-15 through U-19 … Won state titles with PFFC at U-15 and U-17 levels.