Ali Krieger is gearing up for a farewell tour with some unfinished business to handle. The Gotham FC defender announced Thursday her intention to retire at the end of the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League season, putting an end to a career that saw Krieger lift multiple trophies with both club and the US Women’s National Team.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while and it just fits,” Krieger said. “In a career filled with blessings, the NWSL title is one of the only trophies I still have yet to win. I’ve worked really hard to get to this point. I’ve always been inspired by winning, competing, and a desire to be the best, and this will be my last chance to win a championship. I’m determined to work with my teammates to make this final goal a reality. To achieve this before our incredible Gotham FC fans will motivate me every day this season.”
Though Krieger’s trophy cabinet is filled with two World Cups, a pair of SheBelieves Cups, a UEFA Champions League, the Frauen-Bundesliga title, and two DFB-Pokal cups; an NWSL championship is glaringly missing. She’ll have her eleventh and final attempt at the title with Gotham FC this season.
Kreiger began NWSL play in 2013 with her hometown Spirit, playing 63 games in four years. She captained the team to the 2016 NWSL championship final but was heartbreakingly denied by the Western New York Flash in a penalty kick shootout. Krieger was traded to Orlando in 2017 where she stayed for five years before moving to New York.
Krieger’s announcement three days ahead of Gotham’s season opener against Angel City FC allows her to enjoy a much-deserved farewell tour across the league. Trips to take on former clubs Washington Spirit (May 28, July 28) and Orlando Pride (April 15, June 28) top Krieger’s anticipated away days for her final go around the NWSL.
“I just feel most importantly what I wanted was for the fans to be able to celebrate with me and be able to come see me one last time if they can and want to,” Krieger said. “I think that’s probably the least I could do for all of their love and support over the years following me and really lifting me up to be my best every day.”
Krieger’s heroics for the USWNT, fan appeal amongst her three NSWL clubs, and admirable work off the field have built her a solid legacy in American soccer, women’s sports, and the effort for equality.
“I want to be remembered as a good person first and foremost, a great teammate and somebody who can leave the game better than where I found it,” Krieger said. “Which is helping to create a safe environment for players to really live their authentic life and be able to show up to work and feel seen and valued and appreciated.”
Krieger’s attentiveness to the importance of a positive locker room paired with the hunger to claim an NWSL title before it’s too late made her the perfect candidate to lead Gotham FC in 2023.
“Obviously I don’t need a captain’s armband to do what I would normally do and show up every day to be the best for my teammates and this organization but I do know that this is a big responsibility and I’m willing to take that on,” she said. “I was really happy to hear that my teammates wanted me to be in this position. I know it’s a direct reflection of how successful your team can be so I don’t take that lightly and I am going to do everything in my power both on and off the field to put our team in the best position to be successful and win a championship.” Krieger has been named team captain for the upcoming season after a unanimous vote within the Gotham FC squad. The 38-year-old replaces McCall Zerboni in the role, ending the midfielder’s two-year run with the armband.
Krieger revealed during the team’s press conference Thursday that she got a head start on her leadership duties this off-season by helping the club acquire free agent Kristen Edmonds. When Edmonds called Krieger about life at Gotham she was convinced to reunite with her former Pride teammate at Red Bull Arena.
“So everyone’s welcome that she signed because I gave her a few words of encouragement and told her she better [join Gotham] or I probably won’t ever talk to her again,” Krieger joked. Ali Krieger will lead Gotham FC for the first time in its 2023 NWSL Season opener against Angel City FC at BMO Stadium on Sunday at 9 pm ET. The Goths take on OL Reign in its home opener at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, April 1 at 7:30 pm ET.