THE BUILT IN TRAINING PARTNER
As kids, Alyssa’s twin sister Amanda was, conveniently, a forward. That resulted in the two sisters out in the yard for hours, Amanda taking shots on Alyssa, who stood in front of whatever makeshift goal they’d come up with – usually the garage door or the underside of the stairs.
“When we were kids, we thought we had twin powers – one person gets hurt, you’d think, ‘Oh, I think I feel it too,’” says Alyssa. “My parents told us that when we were babies, we’d just sit up in our cribs talking to each other for hours.”
By high school, these “twin powers” were a real advantage on the field. During games, Amanda would take the corner kicks and Alyssa would run up the field and try to score on headers. “At one point in the season, I was six for six,” remembers Alyssa.
BEGINNINGS OF THE ‘KEEPER
The Naeher sisters were four–years-old at their first practice, and they were excited. They rushed out of the car – a big old antique Chrysler convertible – and Amanda accidentally slammed the heavy, monstrous door on Alyssa’s hand. It turned black and blue, her nails falling off. As Alyssa screamed in pain, Amanda consoled her with this logic, “Good thing you don’t use your hands in soccer.”
Alyssa jokingly says that she partially became a ‘keeper because of the getup. Alyssa’s father was the high school soccer coach, which meant Amanda and Alyssa were the ball girls. The reward for helping shag balls for the year was a trip to the local soccer store. Both sisters were allowed to pick something out. “I wanted something different. I liked the idea that I could wear a different shirt from everyone else,” laughs Alyssa. “I chose my own jersey – this multi-colored thing – really, really bright. And I remember picking out my first gloves, blue and white – I still have them.”
Of course, she also liked ‘keeper because she got to use her hands – Alyssa was also a basketball player. In her high school career, she broke school records and scored over 2,000 points.
Alyssa’s sister Amanda now teaches Physical Education at a middle school. She occasionally has her sister – the professional athlete – come talk to the kids. After one of her talks, Alyssa played a game of basketball knockout with Amanda and her class. When Alyssa won, one of the kids turned to Amanda and asked, “Is she better than you at everything?”Amanda got her own glory moment later that day. She boasted to some of her younger students that Alyssa was a professional athlete and one of the kids turned and looked at Alyssa, who was wearing jeans and a sweater, and said, “Coach Naeher, you’re definitely more athletic-looking.”
Full name is Alyssa Michele Naeher … Majored in Kinesiology … Twin sister Amanda was a standout forward at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., and one of the all-time leading scorers in NCAA Division III history, scoring well over 100 goals in her career … Amanda also scored more than 2,000 points in high school basketball … Younger sister Abigail attended Samford University and she and her husband Matt had their first child (Judah) on the night of the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final … Enjoys doing the crossword puzzle every morning with her coffee … Is a huge New England Patriots fan … All-time favorite TV show is “Friends” … Loves going to the movies … Ice cream is her guilty pleasure, especially mint chocolate chip.
Has been consistently with the U.S. Women’s National Team over the past year, but is a veteran of the USA’s youth national teams and was the starting goalkeeper for the team that won the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup … 2015: Was consistently on roster this year – including for the Algarve Cup title in Portugal -- and was a member of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup champions ... Played as substitute into two Victory Tour matches and played all 90 minutes against China PR on Dec. 13 … 2014: Earned her first cap and shutout in a victory against Argentina at the International Tournament of Brasilia in December … Was at the January training camp and traveled with the USA in March to the Algarve Cup in Portugal ... Was on the roster for the Aug. 20, 2014 game against Switzerland and a pair of games in September against Mexico ... Trained during the entire 2014 Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament, but was not on the official roster … 2013: Was called into camp with the senior team ahead of a November friendly against Brazil ... 2011: Travelled with the U.S. to Portugal for the Algarve Cup ... 2010: Trained at camp in January and September … 2009: Earned her first call-up to train with the senior team in December 2009 … Youth National Teams: Played for the U.S. U-23s ... Won the 2008 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup with the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team, earning the Golden Glove as the tournament’s best goalkeeper after posting five wins in the tournament over France, Argentina, England, Germany and Korea DPR in the Final ... While in high school was called up to play for the U.S. U-16 and U-17 National Teams … Attended the U.S. U-14 I.D. camp in 2002 … First Appearance: Dec. 18, 2014 vs. Argentina … First Shutout: Dec. 18, 2014 vs. Argentina
2015: Played in 12 matches for the Boston Breakers (1080 minutes) due to WNT commitments and made 65 saves, good for second in the league … Finished the season tied for the NWSL all-time lead in saves with 205 … On Nov. 22, she was traded to the Chicago Red Stars in exchange for defender Whitney Engen … Boston also acquired a second-round pick (No. 17 overall) in the 2016 NWSL College Draft from the Red Stars, as well as the Red Stars’ natural second-round pick in the 2017 draft while Chicago also received the Breakers’ third-round pick (No. 22 overall) in the 2016 draft … 2014: She was the 2014 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year ... Played in and started all 24 games, one of only two Breakers to do so ... Logged a team-high 2,115 minutes, which also ranked her second in the league ... Set a NWSL record and team record with 106 saves ... Registered three shutouts and stopped six of the nine penalty shots she faced ... The six penalty kick saves was the most in NWSL history and a career high ... 2013: Started eight of the nine games she appeared in for the Breakers after joining the club as a free agent in May ... Finished with a 4-2-2 record with team-high two shutouts ... Joined after finishing her German Bundesliga season with FFC Turbine Potsdam … It marked her second stint with the Breakers ... She was selected in the first round (11th overall) of the 2010 WPS Draft ... 2012: With FFC Turbine Potsdam for the 2012/13 Frauen Bundesliga season, she posted a 16-4-1 record with 10 shutouts, helping the team earn a berth into the 2013-14 Champions League ... Potsdam finished second in the Bundesliga, four points back of champions VFL Wolfsburg ... In debut season with Potsdam (2011/12), Naeher went 13-2-2 with 11 shutouts in the league and Potsdam won the Bundesliga ... Made her debut on Sept. 28, 2011, coming on in the 64th minute of the team’s 6-0 victory over Thor/KA of Iceland in the UEFA Women’s Champions League ... Over two years at Potsdam, she had a 6-3-1 Champions League record with four shutouts … 2011: Set a franchise record and led Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) with 99 saves for the Boston Breakers ... Finished with a 5-9-4 record with five shutouts ... Had a goals against average of 1.33 ... Started and played in all 18 games ... Logged 1,620 minutes ... 2010: In her rookie season of 2010, she started all 16 games she played in during the regular season, logging 1,379 minutes ... Faced 90 shots and made 69 saves ... Allowed 18 goals for a 1.17 goals against average ... Posted a record of 9-4-2 with three shutouts ... Played in one playoff game and made three saves in a loss to the Philadelphia Independence in the WPS Super Semifinal ... Youth: Played youth club soccer with Yankee United from U-12 through U-15, then switched to South Central for U-16 to U-19 where she wont a state title … Was a Parade All-American and two-time NSCAA Youth All-American.