30-year-old midfielder and defender Ali Krigier understandably gets very emotional while recalling a day nearly a decade ago, when she became extremely winded from simply walking down the hall into her kitchen. Upon further examination, doctors found her in a critical, touch-and-go situation that required immediate and extensive surgeries to rid her body of several blood clots.
It changed her outlook on life and gave her an unwavering passion and dedication to pursue her soccer dreams. She recently did just that, serving as an important part of the 2015 US Women’s World Cup Team that hoisted the trophy after a 5-2 demolishing of Japan.
The former Penn State standout starred for the Nittany Lines from 2003-2006, launching a career that has taken her from Washington DC to Germany. She joined the United States National Team in 2008 and has made 73 appearances for the squad in the years since. She gives a lot of credit for her success to her brother, who was able to overcome his own battles with addiction after he bared firsthand witness to the intense and at times uncertain journey that Ali went through at the age of just 21.
A shutdown goalkeeper who had a great four-year career as a Nittany Lion, Alyssa Naeher has gone on to carve out a nice career for herself in professional soccer. She was a four-year starter in Happy Valley, starting every game she appeared in between the years of 2006 and 2009.
Naeher made 36 appearances for the Boston Breakers between 2010 and 2011, and she returned to the team in 2013 after a brief hiatus to play for the FCC Turbine Potsdam squad in Potsdam, Germany. She has become a valued commodity in Boston and one of the most respected goaltenders in the league.
As a member of the women’s World Cup 2015 team, she obviously did not see much playing time as a result of being behind superstar goalie Hope Solo on the team’s depth chart. Nonetheless, it infused all teammates and fans with a sense of security knowing that if Solo was indeed injured are needed to come out of the game, they would have a replacement that is also at a world-class level.
The 27-year-old Bridgeport, Connecticut native has a twin sister, and she recently spoke in an interview about just how important the bond they have established is in her personal and professional life. “You always have a built-in training buddy, a built-in friend.”