Women's World Cup: Ali Krieger of U.S. national team

Jul 22, 2011

Defender Ali Krieger of Prince William County in Virginia was one of the standouts for the United States in its run to the final of the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany. Krieger -- one of four on the U.S. team to start and finish all six games in the tournament -- converted the decisive penalty kick in the Americans' thrilling quarterfinal victory over Brazil.

Krieger answered reader questions live on Friday.

WATCH: Krieger, teammates appear on The Daily Show

READ: Krieger overcomes bumps on the road to the Women's World Cup

WATCH: Krieger discusses her local soccer roots

@AlexBKrieger on Twitter

Thanks to everyone for tuning, and thanks for the support. I'm excited to your questions.

Producer's note: Ali is very busy today, but we'll try to get to as many questions as possible. 

What's your favorite memory from the World Cup? And how did it feel to be back in Germany?

Scoring the final PK against Brazil was my favorite memory, and celbrating with the team after such an emotional game. Being back in Germany felt like being home -- I was very happy.

What were some of the emotions you felt going through these last few games. I must have been an emotional roller coaster, or was it?

You took the words right out of my mouth. It was a an emotional roller coaster. I think I am more mentally and emotionally drained than physically drained from that experience. But I would do it all over if I could.

In the final against Japan, the US team hit the posts or crossbar four times (Lauren, Megan, Abby in the first half; and I think Alex in the second half). You rarely see this happen. Plus you'll had numerous bona fide goal-scoring chances that just missed. When you look back do you think that game was just "weird," that you really could have been up (say) 3-0 in the first quarter of the game if only you had just the slightest bit of luck?

Yeah, of course. We msised a few chances in the beginning. I think we could have been up at halftime 4-0. Unfortunately, it didn't go our way. Soccer's a funny game, you never know how it's going to turn it out. Someone was fighting for them a little more than us on that day. 

Do people blame you for that goal? Do you blame yourself? (I don't think it was your fault. The central defender instinctively pushed that ball across goal -- something you are taught never to do -- and the ball caught you by surprise. The credit for the goal goes to the Japanese player who made that delicious cross into the box.)

Unfortunately it was a defensive mistake. We had lost the ball, clearing the ball out right to Sawa who then served the ball in.  Buehler tried to clear it out as best she could, but unfortunaltely she kicked it right to me. I wasn't expecting it and it hit off my shins. If you watch the highlight, you can tell it was just an unfortunate pass.

I think it was just a random thing that happened in the back. But we win as a team and we lose as a team -- we never blame one palyer for a loss. That never happens.

Were you going to be taking the 5th pk against Japan if it got that far? If so, were you considering going the other way from your Brazil pk?

Yes and no. And I was so excited to take it.

Ali, first off congrats on a terrific tournament. you ladies really inspired the nation and hopefully put soccer on the map in the US. Anyway, your contract in Germany has expired, what are your plans going forward to continue your professional career. Playing in the WPS? Back to Europe? Time off?

As of now, time off. The doors are still open. I haven't made any final decisions. I'm going to take a couple weeks off to make a decision. The WPS is probably not one of my top choices as of right now. I have until the end of August to decide if I want to go back to Europe. But the U.S. team is my priority as of right now -- so whatever I need to do for them, that will be my first choice.

First, you are one of my favorite players to watch--amazing composure on the ball. Pretty honored to share a birthday:).

Is there a going to be a post-Women's World Cup tour, preferably in SoCal before Olympic qualifying?

The sites of the games have not been set, so I'm not sure. But there are going to be thee "victory tour" games in mid- to late September. We're not sure of the exact dates -- they should be up on the U.S. Soccer website soon. 

Who would be the go to person when you need a good laugh on the USWNT?

Lori Lindsey. She's probably one of the funniest people I know. And Heather O'Reilly. 

After your health scare in 2005, how did you get your head back in the game/ get over the fear of a relapse or another clot forming?

I wanted to accomplish my goals and play in a World Cup, so I wouldn't stop until I was fit again and on the field. There was this motivation inside of me that I couldn't be stopped. I just felt this love for the game so I wouldn't give up until I had tried my best to accomplish my goal.

What's the significance of your Liebe/Love tattoo, and why did you get it/what does it represent? Do you have others?

Yes, I have others. This one represents my three and a half years in Germany -- my love of the country, my love of the team, my love of the experience.  

It tells a story -- people at home ask a question about it and I am able to tell a story about part of my life.

Hello Ali, I have one question. Are you going to play in Germany egain? It would be so nice! We are missing you already! Du hast eine tolle WM gespielt! Liebe Grae aus Deutschland!

Danke. I appreciate it. I hope to get back to Germany. I'm not sure when -- that's the only question. I miss Germany as well and hopefully I can be back there within this year.

How nervous do you get before a game and how do you deal with it?

I get a little nevous, but I get more excited to play, to be honest. I don't get nervous before games, maybe just before the World Cup final -- that was at the highest level.

Was it hard to keep a straight face...not show anger or laugh...every time the Brazilians fell to the ground in "pain"?

No, it wasn't. But we're used to that from them. They're that type of players. Unfortunately it hinders the game,because that's not what the game is about. We don't play that way, and we as a team respect the game a little more. At that point, I think it's a bit unfair to want to waste time in that fashion.

Ali, it was great to watch you in Germany! Thanks for battling so hard all tournament. My question: the skill and combination play of France and Japan were somewhat surprising. Were your surprised? And what would you tell youth coaches about what you learned at the World Cup?

I was not surprised, as they're two great teams that play a passing game and who are very technical. We had expected that from them and the skill level was very high. 

For youth coaches, continue to do what we're doing in the U.S. and continue to teach the game, because the atmosphere we experienced in a soccer country for the World Cup was so exciting and so overwhelming. Continue to spread the love of the game for these young players and hopefully women's soccer will continue to be successful in the U.S. -- and as appreciated as it is in Germany and the rest of Europe.

I noticed that in Germany they called you Ali; your mom called you Alex; and the Post has you noted as Ali. So do you have a preference? And did the US Team give you a nickname?

The U.S. team calls me "Kriegs" as a nickname. My mom calls me "Alex" because that's name she gave me -- and the rest of my family calls me "Alex" too.

My friends, the people I grew up with, the media -- they call me Ali.  Ali was my nickname growing up -- when I got to college and the national team, they called me "Kriegs" or "Krieger."

Hello Ali - congrats on the World Cup performance! Do you think there is a big gap between European and US league standards? Thanks, Claire (Irish woman trying to deal with heatwave in Boston)

Yes, I do think there's a differnce. It's not better or worse. It's just different. In Europe they focus more on a technical game and it's more of a passing game. The U.S. game is more of a running game. But I think that's changing in the U.S., and as long as we start preaching that for the youth programs, focusing on the technical and tactical aspects of the game, I think it can only progress from there. 

Who is your favorite male soccer player?

I have two: Manuel Neuer -- the German national team goalkeeper who plays for Bayern Munich. And I really like Michael Essien, who plays for Ghana's national team  and Chelsea.

Have you thought about what you will do after your playing days are over? (I hope you're many years away from that though!)

Yes, let's hope that's many years away. I hope to play for at least five or six more years, as long as my body can hold up. I would love to do some sports broadcasting or commentating -- for any sport, not only soccer. Or, I have a lot of interest in event planning, more specifically wedding planning, but we'll see where the road takes me. I'm keeping the doors open. 

I think you were in Rochester when Abby said this during the half-time show (?) Did you wince when you heard this or do you, like many of us, say "Why not?"

Absolutely, I agreed. We should have that confidence or we should not be playing. Coming off that loss to Japan in the World Cup final, that only motivates us even more to want and go to  play right now.

First of all, we have to qualify -- we can't get ahead of ourselves. We have qualifiers in January, and we're going to be working that much harder, because we know what it feels like. 

I'm sorry I'd love to answer everyone's questions, but I have to go now. I'll be coming to the D.C. are for the next few weeks. 

I wanted to say thanks for all the support -- it has made us so, so happy. I can't say how proud I am to be an American and to play for the U.S. national team -- especially because I grew up in the Washington, D.C. Hopefully the support will continue throughout the Olympics. 

In This Chat
Ali Krieger
Ali Krieger, who grew up playing soccer on the fields of Prince William County in Northern Virginia, was one of the stars of the United States national team at the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany. The defender has played for the national team since 2008 and has played professionally the past four seasons for Frankfurt in Germany's women's league.

Krieger graduated from Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, earning All-Met honors her junior and senior seasons. She was The Post's spring 2003 girls' soccer player of the year. She went on to play at Penn State from 2003 to 2007 and was a two-time all-America and a first-team NSCAA All-American.

Twitter: @AlexBKrieger
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