The road to soccer stardom starts when you’re young. In the case of Ali Kreiger, a member of the 2016 Women’s World Cup championship team, it started when she was our age. When she was young, she played on both coed and all-girl teams. One of the teams she played on was called the Cosmos. Ali continued playing soccer throughout high school. In fact she was such an excellent player in high school that she won the Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of the Year for Virginia in 2003. She said that winning that award made her realize that she might be able to play soccer in the future on a more competitive level.

Ali went on the play soccer at Penn State University. Although she started her college career as a midfielder, she ended it as a defender. We asked Ali if she had any sports idols as a kid. She said she had many idols as a kid, but her number one idol was her parents. This was because they were both very athletic, and they had also played college sports. They taught her and were always proud of her. Some of her other idols were soccer stars Kristine Lilly and Mia Hamm.

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Ali usually wears the number 11 on her jersey. We wondered if she was number 11 her whole life. Ali said she picked that number because her mom was number 22 when she played sports so she decided to split that number in half. Sometimes she has also been number 22 just like her mom. Ali has gone back and forth with both numbers throughout her soccer career.

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We really wanted to know where she was when she found out that she had been selected to be a member of the 2016 Women’s World Cup team. Ali told us that she was at home watching it on television and saw her name listed on the sports channel. Can you imagine how amazing that would be?

When asked what had been the most important game of her life, not surprisingly she picked the last game of the 2015 FIFA World Cup. She was very proud of herself and her team for winning against Japan. She and her World Cup teammates were treated to a ticker-tape parade in New York City. Ali said the parade was so welcoming, and she felt very appreciated. Everyone cheering for the team made them feel special. Ali also said that she and her whole team had “a blast.”

We could tell she was proud about where she is today as a soccer player. Ali Krieger is an amazing person and soccer player, and we hope to see her walk into the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro this summer during the opening ceremony of the Olympics.