Ali Krieger has reached the end of her illustrious professional soccer career.
The two-time World Cup champ and longtime NWSL star announced her retirement before the 2023 season.
Now, as she reaches her farewell, let's take a look back at each year of her career.
Ali Krieger is riding off into the sunset.
The two-time World Cup champion with the US Women's National Team and longtime superstar of the National Women's Soccer League announced her retirement at the start of the 2023 campaign. Now, with NWSL playoffs underway and her NJ/NY Gotham side headed to the semifinals, the stalwart defender is looking to end her career by securing one of the few accolades she has yet to earn over her illustrious professional soccer career: an NWSL title.
But before Krieger rides off into the sunset with a trophy — or loses en route to the championship — let's take a look back at each year of her remarkable, years-long career for club and country:
2007: Krieger headed off to Germany to compete in the Bundesliga with FFC Frankfurt.
Fresh off of a standout career bolstering the back line for the Penn State Nittany Lions, a 23-year-old Krieger flew across the Atlantic and signed a two-year contract with Bundesliga club FFC Frankfurt. Though adjusting to the German way of life took some time, she quickly found her footing on the pitch.
Krieger competed for, and earned, a starting role and instantly helped the team become a contender. FFC Frankfurt won the "Treble" — the Bundesliga title, German Cup championship, and UEFA Cup trophy — in her very first season, per The Equalizer.
2008: She debuted with the USWNT.
Krieger earned her first call-up to represent her country shortly after embarking on a full-time professional career. She joined the Stars and Stripes for a six-day camp in California just days into 2008.
Mere weeks later, Krieger earned her first appearance and first start for the USWNT at that year's Four Nations Tournament in China. She played a full 90 minutes on the back line in the first game of the event and helped the US allow just one goal through three matches at the tournament, per RSSSF.
Krieger was later named an alternate — a substitute should a rostered player get hurt — for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
2009: Krieger played on loan for the Washington Freedom of the newly formed Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) league.
Krieger sustained a foot injury during the 2008-2009 campaign with FFC Frankfurt. After the season ended early in the summer of 2009, the German club loaned her to the Washington Freedom of the newly formed Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) league back home in the states.
She played 10 games and made nine starts for the D.C.-based team and helped the Freedom finish third in the league, per Soccerway.
2010: She rejoined FFC Frankfurt and found her way back onto the USWNT roster.
Krieger then returned to Germany, where she and FFC Frankfurt missed out on Champions League play following a third-place finish in the Bundesliga. But back home in the US, Krieger's national team prospects were trending upward.
She found her way back onto the USWNT roster in May of that year and came in off the bench for a win against Germany. Two months later, she earned a start in the Stars and Stripes' second of two matchups against Sweden.
Krieger would go on to be named to every USWNT roster for the remainder of the season.
2011: Krieger make her FIFA World Cup debut with the USWNT.
The Dumfries, Virginia, native extended her initial two-year deal with FFC Frankfurt to return to the German club for 2011. She kicked off 2011 by helping the team to a second-place finish in the Bundesliga and another German Cup title.
After helping the USWNT to an Algarve Cup victory in Portugal, Krieger returned stateside to focus on the women's national team and the ramp-up to the World Cup. She was one of the 21 players named to the roster and, just one year after working her way back into camp contention, became one of four USWNT starters to play all 600 minutes of the tournament.
The US fell just short of its World Cup ambitions in excruciating fashion, losing the final to Japan on penalty kicks.
2012: A serious knee injury derailed her Olympic ambitions, but she returned to close out her club career in Germany.
During the first half of a January USWNT match against the Dominican Republic, Krieger found herself on the receiving end of a tackle that resulted in her leaving the field on a stretcher. The following day, representatives for the team confirmed that she had torn the ACL and MCL in her right knee, per ESPN. The injury all but assured that she'd miss the Olympics that summer in London.
Still, Krieger made a strong, fast recovery back in Germany with her club. Just three months post-operation, she was able to jog and even kick a soccer ball, according to her website. She narrowly missed the window to join the USWNT at the Olympics, but she returned to gameplay with FFC Frankfurt that fall and played seven matches with the squad before requesting a release from her contract so she could return to the states.
2013: Krieger returned to the states and the national team.
With the National Women's Soccer League launching back in the US, Krieger decided to leave Germany and submit her name to the league's Player Allocation for its inaugural season. The Washington Spirit — Krieger's hometown team — selected her as well as USWNT goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and midfielder Lori Lindsey.
The Spirit struggled and finished the year in last place, but Krieger came back strong with 18 appearances and 16 starts for Washington. She immediately joined Swedish side Tyresö FF during the NWSL offseason.
Krieger rejoined the USWNT almost exactly one year after sustaining her knee injury and was called into several camps throughout 2013.
2014: She helped the USWNT qualify for the World Cup and led the Spirit to their first postseason.
Krieger returned to the Washington Spirit for the 2014 season and, after starting all 22 games in which she appeared that year, she helped the club reach its very first NWSL playoffs after a fourth place regular-season finish.
She was also instrumental to the USWNT's efforts to qualify for the following year's World Cup. Krieger was regularly appeared on national team rosters throughout the year and often started on the back line. She helped the Stars and Stripes clinch a spot in the 2015 World Cup in Canada by winning the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship.
2015: Krieger became a World Cup champion.
Krieger missed most of the first half of the season with the Spirit thanks to a concussion she suffered in the very first game of the year. She departed for Canada with the USWNT shortly after recovering, and was healthy in time to start in the World Cup.
The stalwart defender started each of the team's seven matches and played all but 10 minutes of the tournament as the USWNT exacted revenge on Japan for their 2011 heartbreak and hoisted the World Cup trophy for the first time since 1999.
2016: She made her Olympic debut and helped lead Washington to its first NWSL Championship appearance.
She played 15 games and earned 14 starts for the Spirit, who earned a second-place finish with a 12-5-3 record during the 2016 regular season. Krieger scored in Washington's semifinal win over the Chicago Red Stars but couldn't help the Spirit over the hump in the championship match, where they lost in penalty kicks.
She suffered a virtually identical heartbreak with the USWNT at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Stars and Stripes won their group, with Krieger earning two appearances and one start through three matches. But in the quarterfinals, the USWNT fell 4-3 in penalties for the team's earliest-ever Olympic exit.
2017: Krieger found a home with a new club but fell out of the USWNT rotation.
A month after helping Washington to its first-ever NWSL Championship appearance, Krieger was traded away to the Orlando Pride. Down in Florida, she joined a stacked roster that included fellow USWNT players Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris as well as Brazilian legend Marta. Krieger started every game as the Pride finished the season ranked third in the NWSL standings, though they failed to advance past the semifinals of the playoffs.
While she was acclimating to her new club, Krieger began getting called into fewer national team camps than in prior years. She only played in two games that year and, despite earning a spot on the USWNT's 2017 Tournament of Nations roster, Krieger did not see the field during any of the team's three matches.
2018: Without any national team call-ups, Krieger focused on NWSL play with the Orlando Pride.
Despite retaining most of their top stars from the season prior, the Pride struggled to achieve comparable success during the 2018 season. Krieger played and started in 19 of Orlando's matches on the year, but the squad posted a losing record and failed to qualify for the NWSL playoffs.
Krieger didn't receive a single USWNT call-up in 2018, which didn't bode well for her chances of making the World Cup roster the following year.
2019: Krieger hoisted her second World Cup.
After a year and a half without an invitation to a national team camp, Krieger earned a spot on the USWNT's roster for two April 2019 friendlies. She played a full 90 minutes in the second of those matches, and the following month, she was included on the 23-player roster for the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France.
Krieger saw the field in three of the USWNT's seven matches in the tournament — including the second half of the final against the Netherlands — to help the Stars and Stripes become back-to-back World Cup champions.
2020: She played in several tournaments with the USWNT before COVID-19 shut down the sports world.
Krieger started off the year with the USWNT at the 2020 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship, then joined the Stars and Stripes at the SheBelieves Cup the following month. The US won both tournaments, though Krieger didn't earn a cap in either one.
Still, Krieger joined her teammates in protesting their federation by wearing their warm-ups inside-out ahead of one of their SheBelieves Cup matches. The move, which hid not only the US Soccer crest but also the logo of their principal sponsor, came in response to USSF's argument against the team's Equal Pay Lawsuit that suggested the women's players deserved lesser pay than their male counterparts because "men are bigger, stronger, faster."
Days after the demonstration, the sports world shut down in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 across the globe. While the NWSL was the first professional contact sports league to return to play in the United States, Krieger and the Pride dropped out of the bubble-style tournament after a COVID outbreak overtook their team.
Still, Orlando player four "Fall Series" matches late in the year. Krieger started in all four — two draws and two losses.
2021: Krieger played her final season with the Pride.
After she was called in for January camp and named to the USWNT roster for early friendlies, Krieger fell out of the national team rotation and missed out on the roster for the postponed Tokyo Olympics.
She instead focused her attention on Orlando. She made 26 appearances for the Pride, but once again, the team struggled to find its footing in the league. Orlando finished in eighth place at the end of the season and missed out on the postseason.
2022: She joined NJ/NY Gotham FC.
Krieger requested a trade to Gotham FC — the NWSL club representing the greater New York City area — due to a combination of personal and professional interests. She and her then-wife, Ashlyn Harris, felt that the NYC suburbs would be a great place to raise a family, per Nets Republic. They also told the outlet they believed that joining Gotham would give them a good chance of winning an NWSL Championship.
Though NJ/NY had a young roster full of promise, the team didn't achieve instant success during Krieger's first season in town. She played in 18 matches and started 17 of them, but Gotham struggled to just four wins on the year, per FB Ref.
2023: Krieger announced that she'd retire at the end of the season.
Krieger decided to make the 2023 season her last, as she announced at the start of the NWSL campaign. Unlike her start to NJ/NY tenure, her farewell season was a competitive one — especially compared to many others she player during her many years in the NWSL.
Gotham finished in sixth on the NWSL table — just six points separated them from the first-place squad — and punched their ticket to the 2023 postseason. Captain Krieger and company upset the third-seeded North Carolina Courage on the road in the quarterfinals, which drew cheers of elation across the squad because "It's not Ali Krieger's last game!"
NJ/NY now heads to Portland for a matchup with the three-time NWSL champion Thorns on their notoriously hostile home turf. Should Gotham upset second-seeded Portland, they'll have a chance to secure the club's inaugural NWSL title while sending their captain out with her first-ever championship.
Read the original article on Insider