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Ali Krieger reflects on grueling journey to 100th USWNT appearance in essay

United States women’s national team right back Ali Krieger, who on Thursday made her 100th appearance for the USWNT, posted an essay on her website detailing how tough it was being away the national team for nearly two years.

United States women’s national team right back Ali Krieger, who on Thursday made her 100th appearance for the USWNT, posted an essay on her website detailing how tough it was being away the national team for nearly two years.

“Experiencing struggles and getting knocked down to the floor is when I really learned my strength and resiliency,” Krieger wrote. “I’ll never forget the days I would struggle to just keep it together or want to seriously hang up the boots while constantly questioning my value and quality as a player. It really can wreck your mentality.

“I’ll never forget the multiple tough conversations with my partner Ashlyn, and some of my best friends who I confide in: Liz, Syd, Pinoe and HAO talking about my future playing ‘options.’ I’m so grateful I listened hard to their advice because it obviously worked out for the best and they were most times spot on.”

Krieger, a 34-year-old Orlando Pride veteran, spent most of 2017 and all of 2018 without a call-up before getting called up in March ahead of friendlies against Australia and Belgium. She made her 99th U.S. appearance in April against Belgium. 

She came on for Kelley O’Hara in the 60th minute of Thursday’s match against New Zealand at Busch Stadium in St. Louis to earn her 100th cap. The U.S. won the match 5-0. 

This summer’s Women’s World Cup will be Krieger’s third. She was a starter on the USWNT squad that won the title in 2015. She played in all seven matches for the U.S. in that World Cup and only missed 10 minutes of action.

During the offseason, Krieger hosted camps, got her coaching license, got engaged to Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and started to chart a new course for her life, but she wrote she never gave up on her dream of playing for her country again.

Krieger recalled waking up early every day to train for both the Orlando Pride’s preseason and in the hopes she’d receive another call-up.

“I realize my story is just one of many on this team and in women’s soccer,” Krieger wrote. “No one of us is more important or better than the other! We all have value as athletes and humans and I’m proud to be part of USWNT’s inspirational legacy.”

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