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Soccer star Ali Krieger: ‘My parents were my idols’

Soccer star Ali Krieger with Kidsday reporters from

Soccer star Ali Krieger with Kidsday reporters from left, Kieran Rosica, Kate Leigh-Manuell, Sadie Nelson, Emma Dean-Stahl and Dean Gates. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We met Olympic, World Cup and Washington Spirit soccer star Ali Krieger when she was in Manhattan recently. Ali excels in both midfield and as a defender, and has played for the U.S. Women’s World Cup teams in 2011 in Germany and 2015 in Canada. She played soccer at Penn State.

Did you play on an all-girls team when you were really young or was it a coed team?

I played on both. When I was 6 years old I played on a coed indoor team. We were called the Cosmos. And then after that when I was 7 I played on an all-girls club team.

How did it feel being the Gatorade Virginia Girls Soccer Player of the Year in 2003?

In 2003, being Virginia Player of the Year was an amazing feeling because I think that was the moment I realized I could actually, really go far in my sport and I was actually, really good at something. At that moment I knew that I could play at a high level.

If you had to choose one, what would be the most important game of your life so far?

The most important game of my life so far would probably be the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final that we won last summer.

Did you have any famous sports idols as a kid?

Yes, both of my parents were my idols. They were both very athletic. They played sports in college and professionally. And also Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Michelle Akers — they were probably my [idols] — and Julie Foudy. Some of the women on the U.S. National Team who paved the way for us to be able to play at the level we play at now.

What is it like being a World Cup winner? Can you tell us about the ticker-tape parade in New York City and going to the White House?

Being a World Cup winner was a dream come true. Very rewarding because [it was] something I wanted to do my entire life, and so accomplishing. That was amazing. And the ticker-tape parade was unbelievable, seeing all the people there and supporting us and the confetti and the paper. We just had a blast. That was an amazing moment just to see all the support and our country behind us.

Has 11 been your number your whole life and why did you pick 11? Does that number have a special meaning for you?

Good question. I was No. 11 because my mom played basketball in college and was always No. 22. I just cut it in half and I kept that. I’ve been No. 11 most of my life and in college I was No. 22. So it has some resemblance.

Where were you when you found out that you were selected to be on the 2015 Women’s World Cup Roster?

I was at home actually; they announced it on the screen, the TV screen. We knew ahead of time, but that is what I remember — sitting at home on my couch and watching all the names and faces pop up on the TV screen on Fox Sports.

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