It took 92 international appearances for the United States and more than eight years from her senior international debut, but during the second half of Saturday’s 1-0 win over France - Northern Virginia’s Ali Krieger finally made her long-awaited debut as a U.S. Olympian.
“It was incredible,” said the Washington Spirit defender from the Brazilian Amazon city of Manaus. “I’ve been waiting my whole life and career for that moment. The team has been so supportive - and the coaching staff have been so supportive [of me].”
Krieger’s long - and often difficult - road to the Olympics was expertly chronicled by Steven Goff of the Washington Post earlier this month.
The cliff notes - she was an alternate on the 2008 team that won Olympic gold (alternates don’t receive medals) and would’ve surely made the 2012 squad - also gold medal winners - before suffering a torn ACL during the Olympic qualifying tournament.
“It’s something that is special to me because of the last Olympics and missing out because of an injury,” Krieger acknowledged. “It meant a lot to me to step out on that field.”
A graduate of Forest Park High School (Woodbridge, VA), Krieger started all seven games for the U.S. during last summer's run to a Women’s World Cup title.
Krieger replaced Washington Spirit teammate Crystal Dunn when she entered the match against France as a second-half substitute, and in doing so became the oldest debutant Olympian in the history of the U.S. women’s soccer program.
“I had this huge smile, it was a great experience,” said the 32-year-old defender. “I can’t wait for the next game.”
Krieger will get her next shot at Olympic glory Tuesday as the U.S. plays Colombia in their final group phase match. The match will be broadcast live on NBCSN at 6 P.M. ET.