Former USWNT Defender Ali Krieger Announces Retirement from Professional Soccer at End of 2023 NWSL SeasonKrieger Played in Three World Cups for the USA, Helping Win the 2015 and 2019 Titles
CHICAGO (March 23, 2023) – Defender Ali Krieger, who played in three Women’s World Cups for the U.S. Women’s National Team, scored one of the most dramatic goals in U.S. history, and helped the USA to titles at the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, has announced that she will retire from professional soccer at the end of the 2023 NWSL season.
“Playing at the highest level for many years with the USWNT has given me so much joy, success and discipline to compete every day to be the best, but most importantly I gained many lifelong friendships,” said Krieger. “I will cherish for a lifetime the pressure moments on the world’s biggest stage, our successful fight for equal pay and many championship celebrations. I can’t be more grateful for the opportunity to represent my country and I’ll always appreciate the grind. To my teammates, my coaches, the operations staff and to our loyal USWNT fans, thank you!”
Krieger, 38, played 108 times for the USWNT and was a member of the FIFA Women’s World Cup team in 2011, 2015, and 2019. She also played in the 2016 Olympics and likely would have been a part of the 2012 Olympic squad if not for a serious knee injury. She scored one goal for the USWNT, that coming in 2013 at the Algarve Cup in Portugal against China PR. She played her final match for the USWNT in January of 2021 against Colombia.
At the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, she scored the game-winning penalty kick in the epic quarterfinal shootout victory over Brazil, a game in which Abby Wambach famously sent the match to PKs with a last-gasp equalizer off an assist from Megan Rapinoe. Krieger, who played every minute of that tournament, helped the USA advance to the title game in Germany, a country where she kick-started her professional career and became the first American (along with FFC Frankfurt teammate Gina Lewandowski) to win the UEFA Women’s Champions League, a feat they accomplished in 2008.
In 2015, she played all but 10 minutes of the Women’s World Cup in Canada, contributing in a big way to one of the greatest defensive performances in World Cup history when the U.S. recorded five consecutive shutouts on the way to its third Women’s World Cup title.
She was a reserve on the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship team but came off the bench in the World Cup Final vs. Netherlands at halftime in place of an injured Kelley O’Hara and played a key role in helping the USA secure its fourth star.
Krieger was one of the first American women to go to Europe to play for a top club, and spent six years in Germany with FFC Frankfurt, one the most successful teams in the world at that time. She also played in Tyresö FF in Sweden's First Division.
Before joining NJ/NY Gotham FC via trade in December 2021, Krieger played four seasons for the Washington Spirit (2013-2016) – including the inaugural NWSL season in 2013 – and five with the Orlando Pride (2017-2021). In her third season as Washington’s captain in 2016, Krieger led the Spirit to the NWSL championship game. In 2017, she started every game, led the Pride to their first playoff berth, and was named to the NWSL Best XI.
Last season, Krieger played in four matches at the NWSL Challenge Cup and in 17 regular season matches during her first year with Gotham.
A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Krieger played 12 years of club soccer with the Prince William Sparklers before playing collegiately from 2003-2006 at Penn State University. She led the Nittany Lions to four consecutive Big Ten championships, scored 12 goals and added 19 assists in her 129 college games. Among her college achievements, Krieger was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and honored as an All-American following her junior and senior seasons after making a switch from midfielder to defender, where she became a stalwart contributor for her college, club and country through the remainder of her extraordinary career.
In addition to her on-field success, Krieger has been admired for her tireless commitment off the pitch. She has utilized her spotlight and platform to serve as an advocate for pay equity and in support of the LGBTQ+ community, among several important issues close to her heart.
“I want to leave the game better than where I found it,” said Krieger. “I believe we have accomplished a lot since we've started. I want to be remembered as being a good person and a good teammate who worked tirelessly to create a space for everyone to feel safe and seen, for speaking up for things that should be better for the younger generation. That's the legacy I want to leave.”