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With ‘burden’ of secrecy lifted, USA’s Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris ready for unlikely World Cup experience together

first_imgBut the reward for that struggle has become clear: a World Cup experience together that so few couples will ever get to share.“It feels so good and it feels so light,” Harris said. 🔗A post shared by ashlynharris24 (@ashlynharris24) on May 20, 2019 at 7:54am PDTLess than a month later, that unlikely call from Ellis did come for Krieger.After two years away from the team, Krieger was back with the U.S. one month ahead of the World Cup roster being named. Plucked out of the wilderness, Krieger all of a sudden had a real chance to impress in the team’s final games before the squad for France was named.Krieger took that chance, earning a World Cup roster spot that would have seemed nearly impossible only a couple of months prior.“She absolutely deserves to be here,” Harris said. “This isn’t a gift for her. This isn’t, ‘Oh because she’s a veteran player.’“She deserves to be here, she’s an unbelievable teammate and person and fiance and all these great things, and that’s just a testament to the person she is and the strength that she carries.”Krieger’s spot on the roster means as much, if not more to Harris, who was there with her every step of the way as she continued to cling on to some shred of hope.“I know a lot of people didn’t get to see how hard it was for her – you can only imagine,” Harris said.“I think the last two years have probably been the hardest time in her life, and, quite frankly, mine.” View this post on Instagram At the U.S. women’s national team media day last month, Megan Rapinoe was asked if her girlfriend, pro basketball player Sue Bird, would be joining her at the World Cup in France.Carli Lloyd was also quizzed about her husband’s attendance, and several other USWNT players were asked the same question about their significant others making the trip to Europe. There were a range of answers. Rapinoe said Bird might be able to join for the latter stages. Lloyd was unsure if her husband would make it. Their other halves, of course, all have their own lives in the U.S., with their own commitments to meet.For two USWNT players though, the answer was much less murky. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and defender Ali Krieger, who went public with their relationship in March and announced their engagement, will be there together every step of the way.“This is such a cool journey and we’re really taking it in to be able to say we’re doing this together,” Harris, the team’s backup goalkeeper, said.Harris spoke with a carefree nature, reiterating several times how happy she and her fiance were. When examining the pair’s journey over the past several months, it’s easy to see why Harris felt so upbeat.Just three months ago, the relationship between Harris and Krieger was still an open secret. While the pair kept their status hidden from public view, Krieger struggled with an unfathomable exile from the USWNT that was nearing two years.“I’d be so emotional and so tough at times to be around because I was so angry at times and just really struggling,” Krieger admitted.All the while though, the team’s starting right back at the 2015 World Cup continued to work out daily, hoping that an increasingly unlikely call from U.S. head coach Jill Ellis would come.“What people don’t realize is when she was left off roster after roster after roster, she still woke up at 8 a.m. with me to grind and to push herself,” Harris said.“She had no light at the end of the tunnel, because nothing was guaranteed for her.”In March, things began to change for the couple.Krieger and Harris, who are also teammates at the club level with the Orlando Pride, went public with their relationship and announced their engagement in an article in People magazine. Katharine Lotze https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/GOAL/ed/d0/ali-krieger-uswnt_1r0t771jlolgl1f4pwe4zx5mu7.jpg?t=-22425431&w=500&quality=80 “For so long we felt this burden and it was so heavy because we couldn’t tell people. Now that it’s out there and it’s open we can just genuinely be ourselves and be the best version of ourselves for our teammates and for our family and for each other.”Krieger, 34 and Harris, 33, will try to soak up every moment together over their upcoming journey, knowing that this World Cup will likely be a once-in-a-lifetime event for them.“It’s really good for us to share this,” Krieger said, “because I’m pretty sure this is our last big tournament together.”last_img read more