THE GERMAN EXPERIENCE
When Krieger graduated from Penn State, the U.S. pro league was shut down. “I wasn’t ready to work a day job yet. I felt like I really needed to keep playing. My dream was to make the National Team, and I thought maybe I could get there by going to play abroad.”
Krieger’s great grandfather was German, and she was also drawn to the idea of reconnecting with her family roots. “I showed up in Germany with my two bags. I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know the language, I didn’t have a place to live, I didn’t know the culture, I just jumped right into it,” says Krieger.
The Germans were initially quiet and reserved. “Even though their English was really good, if they can’t speak it perfectly, they just won’t do it,” says Krieger. “I didn’t speak to some of my teammates for half a year.” She hated not being able to know their personalities so she started taking German classes three days a week, approaching the language with the same determination she exhibits on the field. “I didn’t think it was fair to just assume they’d speak English.”
By the end of her time there, she had very much adjusted: “I got a tattoo of Liebe, which means Love in German – it represents my time there. Love for the country, the culture and my experience. It’s my second home.”
Krieger means “warrior” in German and her teammates called her “The Warrior Princess.” Krieger explains the “princess” component, “Deep down, I’m really girly. I wear mascara every day; I put it on just to get the mail. I never leave the house without it – it’s like my war paint. I always have it on – especially for games.”
The “Warrior” part of the nickname is also fitting for a player who has overcome the kind of setback Krieger faced her senior year of college. In her final year at Penn State, she broke her leg. Several plane flights during the College Cup led to blood clots in her leg that resulted in a pulmonary embolism and a series of mini heart-attacks.
She described feeling unnaturally out of breath to her then-boyfriend, a pre-med student, who took her heart rate and insisted they go to the hospital. “I turned to him and said, ‘Am I going to live?’ And he couldn’t even answer me.”
Doctors told her that if she would’ve fallen asleep that night, she probably wouldn’t have made it.
For six months, they monitored her recovery. She gave herself shots every day and got her blood taken. Once the blood clots were gone, she slowly progressed back into the game.
THE MAKING OF THE WARRIOR
Krieger started playing soccer because of her brother Kyle, “I just wanted to do whatever he did. I wanted to hang out with him all the time and just be hardcore. We were best friends.” They’d play Manhunt, they’d make forts out in the woods, “You had to have a secret password; we wouldn’t even let the dog come in.”
They’d also play “King of the Bed.” “My parents had a bed that was pretty high off the ground and my dad would try to throw us off. One side of the bed was the lava pit, one side was the shark tank, and one side was the cliff, ‘the briny deep.’ It was just like WrestleMania,” Krieger explains. “I remember laughing so much. My mom would wear hear thumps. She would yell up to stop, and we would look at each other, and say one, two, three and then yell, NOOO.”
In spite of their close relationship, when Krieger experienced her health scares, she couldn’t locate her brother. Battling addiction, he was at a low. “He had hit rock bottom: waking up homeless, robbed in his car. “When he recovered, he told me, ‘I’m going to be a better brother,’” remembers Krieger. With Ali’s support, Kyle turned his life around and the two siblings are tighter than ever. “He’s my rock,” says Krieger. “He’s the one I turn to for everything.”
U.S. National Team: One of the USA’s best attacking defenders and a gritty ball-winner, before returning to the USA in 2013, she was the only U.S. regular playing her club soccer overseas.
2015: 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Champion... Named to the 2015 U.S. FIFA Women's World Cup roster, her second World Cup selection... Has appeared on the back line in 16 of the USA's 17 matches this year, starting 13... Strong defensive presence during the U.S.'s run to its 10th Algarve title...Appeared and started in three games during the Algarve Cup, including the 2-0 victory over France in the final... 2014: Had her busiest year with the National Team, appearing in 20 of the team’s 24 games while starting 18 and logging 1,596 minutes (third on the team for field players), both career highs … Doubled her career assist total by adding three, against Russia (2/8), Korea DPR (3/12) and Argentina (12/18) … 2013: Made her return to the U.S. team after fully recovering from knee surgery, playing 776 minutes in 10 matches while starting nine … Scored her first WNT goal, that coming on March 8 against China PR during a 5-0 win at the Algarve Cup in Portugal … 2012: Played in just one match at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament before tearing her ACL in the 42nd minute against the Dominican Republic, which ruled her out for the year … 2011: Had a breakout year while seeing the most extensive action of her National Team career to date, starting all 16 games in which she played … Her 1,341 minutes played were sixth-best on the team … Made her first Women’s World Cup team and started all six games in her return to Germany, where she lived and played for the previous four years … One of four U.S. players to play every minute of the Women’s World Cup … Sealed her place in U.S. history by converting the fifth and final penalty kick in the dramatic shootout victory over Brazil in the quarterfinal … Had two assists during the year … 2010: Played in eight matches for the USA, starting four … Played all 180 minutes in two matches at the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament … 2009: Did not play in a game for the USA … 2008: Made her first roster and debuted in January at the Four Nations Tournament in China, starting and playing every minute of games against Canada and Finland … Her first start in a 4-0 win against Canada was also Pia Sundhage’s first match as head coach of the USA … First call-up came in January … Youth National Teams: Played for the U.S. U-21/U-23 Women’s National Team in 2006 and 2007 … First Appearance: Jan. 16, 2008, vs. Canada … First goal: March 8, 2013, vs. China PR
Professional / Club – 2014: Started all 22 games in which she played for the NWSL’s Washington Spirit, compiling 1,935 minutes (second on the team) while playing several different positons, including center-back … Helped the team earn its first NWSL playoff berth with a fourth-place regular season finish … Scored one goal, on May 3 against Seattle … Named to the NWSL Best XI First-Team … 2013: Played 1,422 minutes in 18 matches, starting 16, and scored one goal … Named to the NWSL Second XI … 2012: Was allocated to the Washington Spirit for the inaugural season of the NWSL… Returned to Frankfurt and played six matches over three months before coming back to the USA to play in the NWSL …2010-11: Helped Frankfurt win the German Cup in 2011, a 2-1 victory against Turbine Potsdam in front of more than 20,000 fans in her last game for Frankfurt before returning to the USA for a brief period after four years abroad … Played in 11 games for Frankfurt, starting all of them, and scored one goal … 2009: She regained match fitness to play in 10 matches, starting nine, on loan with the Washington Freedom during the 2009 WPS season … 2008-09: Wasn’t able to play for most of the 2008-2009 season at Frankfurt due to a foot injury that kept her out for about nine months … 2008: Allocated to the Washington Freedom before the start-up of Women’s Professional Soccer in 2008, but due to her contract with Frankfurt, she was initially unavailable to the Freedom … 2007-08: She won “the treble” in 2008, winning a UEFA Women’s Championship, the Bundesliga title and the German Cup with Frankfurt … Scored her first goal in Germany on Feb. 24, 2008, vs. FCR Duisburg … Youth: Coached by her dad Ken Krieger on the Prince William Sparklers, for whom she played from age 7 to 19 … Eight players stayed with the team for that entire run, and almost every player went on to play NCAA Division I.