Ali Krieger – The One and Only

I’ve written before about Ali Krieger, about the epidemic which has taken over the nation known as Krieger Fever.  I spoke of her beautiful smile, her impeccable skill, her undying determination.  Well now, given recent events I want to touch on that determination again.  And also that smile.  Because let’s be honest; it has literally been proven physically impossible to talk about Ali Krieger and not mention those pearly whites.

For anyone unaware; Ali Krieger, US Women’s National Soccer team starting right back, was recently injured in an Olympic Qualifying game in Vancouver.  As she struck the ball (quite beautifully I might add) and came down on her right foot a Dominican Republic player came in reckless, high, and late.  The result of this extremely painful looking challenge we have now found out is a torn ACL and MCL.  I don’t want to focus on the injury itself.  As much as I would love to rant about the irresponsibility of the ref for not calling this tackle and the player for such a reckless and dangerous challenge; I instead want to focus on how we all know that our girl, Alexandra B Krieger, is a warrior who will fight her way back to the top. 

In my last piece I focused on her playing abilities; on her amazing skill, composure and all around soccer brilliance (and her smile).  This time I want to look at the person behind it.

Beyond her obvious athletic prowess and her fierce determination she is also one of the nicest people you could imagine.  I had the privilege of meeting her briefly after a practice here in LA this past camp.  As she waited patiently for a fan to find their sharpie she struck up a conversation with the rest of us as if we were old friends.  “How was your Christmas?” “Did you enjoy your holidays?” “How have you been?”…were a few of the questions she asked as she genuinely waited for responses.  I will say that this entire team is filled with gracious athletes who all take ample time with fans and it is amazing to see.  I will also say I believe Ali is the perfect example of just how incredible they are with fans.  She has a kindness and a genuine likeability about her that just makes you feel welcome and thrilled to be around her.

Ali is also quite possibly the most positive person I have ever seen.  It’s true.  It’s actually kind of sickening.   A cynic wouldn’t stand a chance around her.  She would turn them into an optimist with a quick flash of her smile.  Her ‘#allsmiles’ hash tag tweets and her positive outlook in everyday life is something all of her fans love seeing; and what we admire about her so wildly.  This is why I am 100%, no…200%, eh, actually…infinity% sure (is that possible?) that she will come back from this quicker than anyone could ever imagine.  And when she does she will still be at the top of her game, smiling all the while.  The fact that she is a fitness monster will also undoubtedly help.  Ali is…well…she’s a freak of nature.  (As are many of the women on this team) Her dedication to her game and her physical fitness will shine through during this tough time.

When I call Ali a warrior or a fighter or a bad ass chick who could take down an entire army with one arm tied behind her back…I am not exaggerating.  (Well, maybe a little with the army bit.  Please don’t test that one out.)  She has proven her commitment to the game and her determination to fight back from all odds.  In 2006, at 21, she was hospitalized due to blood clotting in her lungs leading to 6 mini heart attacks.  Her dedication, determination and positivity all contributed to her rejoining her team at Penn State senior year to finish out her college career after this life threatening condition halted her momentarily.  This new injury is now just another bump along her road.  A road that we are all honored to get to watch roll out in the career of one of our greatest defenders of all time.  She’s like our  own real life Road Runner.  You can try to set as many traps and drop as many anvils on her as you want to, but it will do you no good.  There is no stopping her and this injury is no exception.

The few tweets I have seen from her since the injury happened have all been well spoken, inspiring and confident.  She knows just as well as anyone that this is part of the game.  Injuries happen, and quite often they unfortunately happen at the most inopportune times.

This is just another injury of another athlete but I felt compelled to write about it.  It was either write, or go hunt down the player who did this to her.  But I decided crossing Canadian boarders on a mission to orchestrate a hit on an international soccer player wasn’t the smartest idea.

Just as she is smart, composed and strong on the field she will be the same in her recovery I am sure.  Her presence will be missed greatly and no one can replace everything she has to offer in the right back position, but this is a deep team filled with overly capable players.  I know her presence on the sideline will be crucial as well though, being a motivational leader to her team.

Ali, we are all wishing you the fastest and most successful of recoveries.  I don’t mean to sound selfish, but we’re all going to be eagerly awaiting your return.  So…I mean…you should probably hurry it along…like really…hurry.  You’re an inspiration on and off the field and one of the best defenders in our history in my opinion.  So please come back to us soon.  Positive thoughts and wishes will be sent your way every day from your army of fans.  Thank you for your continued hard work and best of luck!

By the way…if you need any entertainment while recovering let me know.  I specialize in air guitar, dancing to 90’s pop music, lip singing to 80’s hair ballads and falling down / running into things (not by choice) which leads to entertainment for those around me.  Keep it in mind.

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Amy Maestri

Writer / actress / producer.

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