ORLANDO — Things are clicking into place for Orlando Pride and United States women’s national team goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.
It’s a World Cup year and she’s part of the goalkeeper pool for the USWNT. There’s a new coach in place for the Pride, and she’s excited to work with him. And, of course, she officially announced her engagement to Pride defender Ali Krieger on Wednesday.
“It just feels like everything’s just magical,” Harris told Pro Soccer USA during the Pride’s media day.
“I’m just very happy and living in the moment and enjoying this because it really never happens. I feel like I’m always under stress and I’m always worried about the World Cup and I’m always worried about the Pride and making time for my personal life and, right now, I’m just like, on top of the world. I’m floating, and I’m very happy.”
The couple announced their relationship via an article and pictures in People magazine. With the announcement came an outpouring of support. Krieger and Harris said USWNT coach Jill Ellis and U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro were among the people who congratulated them.
“It feels so nice, and I know that seems so small, but, you know, we’ve been quiet about this for a long time in fear of our jobs, in fear of sponsorships and it’s just so sad that you can’t be authentically you and organic, just how we want to live our life and the things we want to post or say,” Harris said.
“Honestly, it was about time. To feel the support from the club and from U.S. Soccer and the messages and these different communities – some that I’m in, some that I’m not in – the support, it’s a really good feeling.
“It’s something that should be celebrated. We have fought so hard to make this the norm and it’s a special time for us and I’m just excited to start the year off and feel a sense of just, like, that heaviness, kind of just melt away.
“I always felt like I wasn’t living up to the expectation of my community and now I just feel like I can be me. If I can be fully, 100 percent me, I’m a better person, you know? I’m very happy. We both are.”
Krieger said she and Harris kept their relationship private out their desire to maintain professionalism.
The two played together for the USWNT, winning a World Cup in 2015. They became Pride teammates in 2017, when Krieger was traded from the Washington Spirit.
“You always want to live your life authentically, but I’m very professional in the way I am with work, obviously, and I’m a very private person, so it’s always been hard just to, you know, put my life out there, no matter who I’m dating,” Krieger said.
“We just wanted to make sure that with our job, our work comes first. We never wanted to make it uncomfortable for our teammates or the club or the organization that we’re working for, and I think that was important for us, as well as the national team. That’s, I think, why we always wanted to make sure that we were professional. You know, it’s not that we were hiding, it’s just something that we thought was important to do for a while. Now, I think, it was a good time to just open up and be ourselves and really share our life with everyone.”
Both said they had concerns regarding sponsorships when they began their relationship. The two met in 2010.
“But now that it’s come to a point where our lifestyle is really accepted and I think that we’re so much more comfortable and confident in who we are, especially now with my age,” Krieger said.
With a laugh, she added, “I’m 34 and I just don’t care what people think.”
Speaking seriously, she said, “But more importantly, our closest friends and family, they support us and obviously the club, and the community and you guys [members of the media] that’s important to us, as well. But we never crossed the line of being unprofessional in the workspace. That’s important for me because I care about that. We care about just affecting anyone that we work with in a positive way.
“We didn’t want that to be detrimental, which it’s kind of funny to talk about. It shouldn’t be, because we’re human and this is our life and it’s normal, but we weren’t sure about that at the very beginning.”
Harris said the support has been “unreal.”
“We’ve been dating a really long time and we’re engaged and we’re moving forward and we’re building a future and, you know, hopeful for kids to come in little Pride jerseys,” Harris said. “You know, we want people to be able to share this with us, and that’s important, because we love this place and we love Orlando and we want everyone to be a part of it.”