What Ali Krieger Would Tell Her Younger Self About Coming Out, Motherhood, and Getting Through Hard Times

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Ali: Right. And I, you know, I, I was so happy that I was like, “Okay, this is what I’ve been feeling and missing. Like this is, these are a few answers now that I can take with me. That now I can kind of, you know, work on that and, and understand myself more on a deeper level,” where before in college, I was like, “Who am I? What am I doing?” Why am I feeling this way? This is weird.” Like, and, and so I feel now that I, from college stepping into, you know, my, um, my experience overseas, I was able to do a bit of self-discovery, which then gave me a whole new perspective on my life. And whether I wanted to be in a lesbian relationship or if I was, you know, experiencing, you know, more of bisexuality experiences. I, I was open to anything at the time because I was just like, “You know what? I could be free and this is me.”

Rachel: Yeah.

Ali: “And let’s just see where this goes.” And, um-

Rachel: That’s amazing.

Ali: Yeah. And you kind of just fill your cup slowly and you start, you know, really discovering yourself more. And I, I really am so grateful for that experience. Um, and, and finally being in a, in an environment where it was okay, uh, to, to be me.

Rachel: Well, I wanna pivot a little bit to talking about career stuff, because you’ve obviously had this really long career really, like filled with a lot of highs, but also there were some lows. Um, so I wanted to talk about the advice that you would give yourself when you didn’t make the National Women’s Soccer team-

Ali: Mm-hmm.

Rachel: … ’cause I think we all go through career setbacks, obviously, but with sports, I think it can probably feel incredibly personal and the stakes are very high. Uh, so maybe if you could start by kind of telling people what happened if they’re not familiar with the situation, and then the advice you would give yourself if you had to do it all over again.

Ali: Yeah. So I, um, was basically in 2017, I think was trying to continue to make the team, every year you’d have to fight for contracts every January at the time where it was you know, you would get a contract with a national team, and it wasn’t like a pay-to-play model where you get invited in now, um, at any moment. And so it’s always a bloodbath at a January camp where we’re all fighting to make the team. And at the beginning I did, but then slowly I had, you know, just, it was probably after World Cup in 2015 where things started to get a little rocky. And I started to recognize, “Okay, like there’s other players coming in and the coach doesn’t necessarily value me as much as before, even though I just played 2015 every game in the World Cup.” And it just, you know, it was a really difficult year for me. Um, slowly but surely, I, you know, stopped getting called in. Um, and I didn’t really get a reason for that. There was never really a, you know, kind of like a closure. That was why it was so difficult for me to move forward um, in my career at the time. And I was devastated. I didn’t get called back for a whole year and a half, almost two years. And right before the next World Cup, I get a call because, um, you know, they were in need of, of a defender. And I think I had proved myself, uh, through that time period, and I made it really difficult for them to ignore me. You know, just had the super laser focus of, “I wanna achieve this, and I know I can do it and I’m gonna do it.” And I’m, like I said before, I just made it difficult for them to ignore me. And so ultimately my coach at the time gave me a call. We didn’t really discuss the, the last-

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