Orlando player Ali Krieger heads the ball during the Seattle Reign at Orlando Pride NWSL game at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, April 28, 2018. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)
Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger has long been a vocal leader for her club, but now she’s finding her voice off the pitch.
Krieger, 33, began tackling television color commentary in September when she was invited to discuss the U.S. men’s national team’s World Cup qualifying campaign at beIN Sports USA in Miami.
Krieger was later invited by beIN last November to help analyze the United States’ failure to qualify for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
Since then, she’s been an occasional guest during Orlando City’s pre-game and post-game shows at Orlando City Stadium. It’s a role she’s enjoying and considers it a hobby.
“It’s so much fun and [I’m] learning a lot,” said Krieger. “I love to talk about the game, I love to talk about [soccer]. I love to talk about men’s soccer as well as women’s. It’s something that’s interesting to me and I really enjoy it. To talk with other people who are knowledgeable about the game that’s really fun.
“That’s my way of just staying in it. I watch a lot of the men’s league, MLS, the European leagues as well, so I try to stay in the know.”
Krieger, who played every minute last season, has continued to punch-in minutes for the Pride this year. She has played all of Orlando’s five games, logging 450 minutes on the pitch.
Krieger insisted her commentary is only something she enjoys doing to the side, with her main focus is on the field helping the Pride climb up the NWSL standings.
“Right now, it’s a bit of a hobby, obviously my first focus is this team and getting in the playoffs and winning this season,” Krieger said. “When I do have time, I really enjoy going in andto hang out and chat and getting my little 10 minutes and still be a part of the game and doing anything for this wonderful club.”
Mônica ready to score
After scoring four goals in six matches for the Brazilian women’s national team to win the Copa América Femenina title lastearlier this month, defender Mônica is looking to score her first goal for the Pride.
“I hope so,” said Mônica on Monday. “I’m excited to [score] my first goal here in Orlando. I haven’t scored any since arriving [last year], but I’ll be happy and glad if it can help the team.”
Mônica returned and played the full 90 minutes during Orlando’s 1-1 draw against the Seattle Reign Saturday shortly after helping the Seleção qualify to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France and 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
She’s had a busy month that saw her play seven games for both club and country.
Pride coach Tom Sermanni praised Mônica’s commitment level and what she brings to Orlando.
“What she does at the back is give us composure, calmness,” Sermanni said. “A bit more quality in possession and obviously she’s played six games [with the national team] over the last three weeks, so she’s come in ready to play and a good level of match fitness.”
Krieger echoed Sermanni’s praise, saying Mônica brings a much-needed stability to Orlando’s back line.
“Playing with her, she’s so calm, she’s so smart,” Krieger said. “She brings me a type of calmness, so when I feel like I’m on the ball and a bit hectic, I can just play her a ball back and she kind of calms the game a little bit.”