Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger’s offseason has been about more than just staying in shape for the 2019 NWSL season.
The Pride’s “Warrior” has been flexing her coaching muscles. Krieger launched the Ali Krieger Football Camp in July and has hosted four additional camps since then, with her sixth camp coming up this weekend.
Krieger said she’s looking to instill the “Warrior Way” during her camps.
“It’s part of the mentality and core values that have helped me get to where I am,” she said in an interview with Pro Soccer USA. “Confidence, positivity, passion and trust.”
Her next three camps will be in Florida. She’s holding two AKFC youth camps, one at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford on Saturday and another at the Hoover Soccer Complex in Brevard County on Feb. 10. The youth camps are split into two sessions, one that’s co-ed (ages 7-12) and the other that’s for girls only (ages 13-18).
“It’s been pretty amazing,” she said. “I’ve really enjoyed it and I’m just basically wanting to impact as many kids as I can around the country. I know I can’t do that as often as I’d like just at our games, you know with a simple picture or autograph. It’s not the same. A lot of our fans or supporters can’t make it to the games because we only have a handful of cities that we play in.”
Krieger will also host an AKFC Adult Camp at XL Soccer World in Orlando from Feb. 22-24. She previously hosted an adult camp in D.C. and said the feedback was great.
“There were 45-year-olds out there with me running around,” Krieger said.
“I add on happy hour to that just to kind of hang out with the adults and our supporters and my supporters and try to get to know them a little bit more. That’s kind of what the experience is about as well. Just engaging and making sure people know that we’re also human. Just to build that type of relationship with them is really important.”
For Krieger, hosting the camps has been a good look at what’s available outside of her playing career. She was part of a group of NWSL players who traveled to Utah during the offseason for a 10-week U.S. Soccer C License course, which she said was huge for shaping how she handles the camps.
“If I want to have these camps, I need to be out on the field coaching,” she said.
“I don’t want to be just standing on the side and making it just about, ‘Show up and I’ll get other people to do the work and I’ll just stand there and look cute, you know?’ I want to roll my sleeves up and I want to help coach. I want to know what I’m talking about. I want to learn what it takes to be a coach at a high level because maybe I want to do that one day.”
Her coaching license is what sets her camp apart, Krieger said. She said she approaches the camps like a professional training session.
“I try to think of what can separate my stuff from other camps that my teammates have, or just any other general soccer camps around the country,” Krieger said.
“One is my coaching license, obviously. My coaching training. I’m actually on the field coaching. Some athletes just like to kind of be there and be around and walk around … but I really want to approach the clinics and the camps with my ability to help coach and kind of step in and help the kids understand certain skills that they need during the exercises and activities.”
These camps will be Krieger’s first in Florida after she hosted previous ones at the Ali Krieger Sports Complex, which is in her hometown of Dumfries, Va. She’ll team with Pride teammates Toni Pressley and Ashlyn Harris for the youth camps — Harris will lead goalkeeper training for both camps while Pressley will be at the Seminole Soccer Complex sessions.
“I’m really grateful that they’re supportive and they’re willing to impact the kids as well,” Krieger said.