August 23, 2011

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U.S. Women's National Team star Ali Krieger re-signs with German side Frankfurt FFC

9 Aug, 2011

By Charles Boehm

After receiving a hero’s welcome in Virginia and across the United States following her breakout Women’s World Cup campaign, Dumfries, Va. native Ali Krieger has returned to Germany to rejoin Frankfurt FFC, the Frauen-Bundesliga side where she has starred since 2007.

“I want to play again. I love to play and I want to get into a club atmosphere. I enjoy it so much – it’s my life and it’s what I love to do,” Krieger told Potomac Soccer Wire in an exclusive interview last week. “I feel good physically and I’m ready to train again.”

Aside from two brief stints with the Washington Freedom, Krieger has spent her pro career with Frankfurt. The seven-time German league champions reluctantly bid her farewell this past spring as she turned her focus towards making the U.S. World Cup squad.

Catapulted into widespread fame by her game-clinching penalty kick in the stunning U.S. quarterfinal win over Brazil, Krieger received offers to play in Women’s Professional Soccer this summer but turned them down, professing a need for a mental and physical rest after an intense season in Germany was immediately followed by the World Cup and the entire U.S. team’s massive subsequent popularity.

“It’s been a whirlwind since I’ve gotten home, and a little bit of a rollercoaster ride, and a little bit draining,” Krieger admitted. “But seeing all the fans and seeing what they have to say, and listening to them congratulate us has just been so rewarding.”

She spent the past several weeks attending media events with her U.S. teammates and catching up with family and friends in Prince William County, but the impending onset of the European club season required her to decide on her future. Krieger says she received several offers from clubs around Europe but in the end, her deep attachment to both FFC Frankfurt and its home city made the decision an easy one.

“The World Cup, playing in Germany, made me feel like I missed it a lot,” she said.

Having established herself as U.S. coach Pia Sundhage’s first-choice right back, Krieger faces a potentially awkward situation of juggling club and country obligations as the national team’s only foreign-based player. But she expressed a strong desire to continue in the environment that shaped her into the player she is today, even though it required her to negotiate a unique arrangement with U.S. Soccer.

“I feel like the best thing for women’s soccer, and a player, is to have a club atmosphere, and to make sure you’re playing day in and day out at that level. I think that training is very important,” she told NSW. “I don’t think that you should ever treat a national team as a club team. We do receive contracts by the national team and that’s the way it’s always been, so it’s just what they’re used to.

“I don’t think any players except me and a few other players, when the [WUSA or WPS] league wasn’t around, went over to Europe and had a great experience. But that’s what I’ve been doing since I left school. So I don’t know any different. It’s what got me here and it’s what’s going to keep me at this level, and I want to continue that.”


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