Image: Daniel Seung Lee via People

Regardless of their fame, some sports stars remain incredibly private about their romantic relationships. But this can’t be said of Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris anymore, as the pair chose to go public with their romance in March 2019. And as it happens, that wasn’t the only announcement the soccer players wanted to make at the time.

Image: U.S. Soccer

The reputation of women’s soccer Stateside grew steadily after the U.S. team played their first international match back in 1985. And while that particular squad may have subsequently lost the game to Italy, Team USA have nevertheless enjoyed plenty of success since. They’ve won four gold medals at the Olympics, three World Cups and a number of other honors in the years that have followed, in fact.

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And Krieger and Harris have both played their parts in that success, with the pair having picked up winners’ medals at the 2015 World Cup tournament. Krieger is a versatile defender who is able to play in both center-back and right-back positions; Harris, on the other hand, remains in front of the net as a goalkeeper.

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Image: Facebook/Ali Krieger

Krieger was born in July 1984 and grew up in Dumfries, Virginia, alongside her parents and older sibling, Kyle. And the future World Cup winner’s family already had a strong connection to the world of soccer, as her dad was a former professional player himself. When it came to forging her own skills, though, the youngster received inspiration from a different source.

Image: Facebook/Ali Krieger

Krieger’s interest in the sport stemmed, you see, from her brother Kyle. She would later explain to the U.S. Soccer official website, “I just wanted to do whatever he did. I wanted to hang out with him all the time and just be hardcore. We were best friends.” Ultimately, though, the aspiring soccer player branched out on her own by joining her local youth team in 1991.

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Image: Ali Krieger

Krieger then played for the Prince William Sparklers for over a decade, with her dad coaching the side. She also produced some impressive performances for her high school soccer team, picking up a number of accolades along the way. Nor did her time on the field end after she graduated.

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Image: Instagram/alikrieger

When Krieger enroled at Pennsylvania State University in 2003, you see, she also joined the Penn State Nittany Lions – the women’s soccer team at the college. And much as she had done before, the future international star made a notable impact during play.

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Over her three years at Penn State, Krieger had close to 100 games for the Nittany Lions, during which she scored a total of 11 goals. She also earned several individual honors during that period, too, which further highlighted her potential in the game. And off the back of these accomplishments, things started to take an exciting turn for the young star.

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During Krieger’s time at Penn State, she had briefly played for both Washington Freedom and the Northern Virginia Majestics over the summer break. Following another spell with the Freedom in 2007, though, the talented sportswoman received an incredible offer: German club 1. FFC Frankfurt were willing to sign her.

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“I showed up in Germany with my two bags,” Krieger recalled to the U.S. Soccer website of her big move. “I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know the language, I didn’t have a place to live [and] I didn’t know the culture, [so] I just jumped right into it.”

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Somewhat inevitably, then, Krieger faced some communication issues with a handful of her German colleagues during that first season. She continued, “Even though their English was really good, if they can’t speak it perfectly, they just won’t do it. I didn’t speak to some of my teammates for half a year.”

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Image: Instagram/alikrieger

Krieger subsequently made a real effort to learn the language, adding, “I didn’t think it was fair to just assume [my teammates would] speak English.” Despite those early challenges, though, she spent the next five years at Frankfurt, making over 60 league appearances. And during that time, the defender also won the Bundesliga, the Champions League and two DFB-Pokal trophies.

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Image: Instagram/alikrieger

So, when Krieger eventually returned to America in January 2013, she came back with a newfound appreciation for Germany. The Virginia native told the U.S. Soccer website, “I got a tattoo [that says] ‘Liebe,’ which means ‘Love’ in German. It represents my time there. Love for the country, the culture and my experience. It’s my second home.”

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Then, as a result of Krieger’s success in Germany, in January 2008 she earned a place in the United States women’s national team. The soccer star made her international debut that same month in a game against Canada. And in 2010 she subsequently met Harris when the two played together on the team.

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Image: Instagram/ashlynharris24

Harris was born in October 1985 and grew up in Florida with her brother, Chris, and parents, Tammye and Mike. And like Krieger, she too had shown a real interest in soccer from an early age, playing with the boys up until she was a teenager. And the future star went on to showcase her talents as a goalkeeper in high school.

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Image: Instagram/ashlynharris24

During Harris’ time on the Satellite High School soccer team, she registered an impressive 50 clean sheets in over 60 appearances. And as a result of those performances, she picked up several honors ahead of her graduation in 2004.

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Harris then became a student at the University of North Carolina, joining the Tar Heels soccer team in 2005. And while she succumbed to two very bad knee injuries during her spell with the Tar Heels, she nevertheless ended up making more than 75 appearances; she also managed to keep 15 clean sheets.

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A professional career beckoned, too, as in 2009 Harris joined the Pali Blues before signing for Saint Louis Athletica the following year. Her career at Athletica didn’t last long, though, as the club went out of business in the summer of 2010. As a consequence, then, the future World Cup winner chose to head off to Washington Freedom.

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Away from Harris’ club career, she had boasted plenty of international experience, having played for the national youth team prior to her knee injuries. Then in September 2009 the goalkeeper finally earned a place with the senior women’s squad for the first time – although she endured a checkered start to training.

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“I was very nervous at the beginning,” Harris recalled to the U.S. Soccer website in October 2009. “I was very stiff, to say the least. But, you know what? This is an opportunity of a lifetime, and I feel I’m playing well. And all I can ask for is to walk out of here knowing that I did what I was supposed to do.”

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“As far as what happens next, it’s out of my control,” Harris added. “I am just going to keep doing what I have been doing: training hard and improving every day.” Some 12 months later, then, the Florida native earned another call-up to the squad. And that’s when she crossed paths with Krieger.

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Image: Instagram/ashlynharris18

Over the next few years, Krieger and Harris’ careers were almost intertwined, with both players joining the Washington Spirit in 2013. Krieger then signed for Orlando Pride around three years later before Harris joined her in 2017. And fans of the Pride quickly picked up on their close relationship, dubbing the pair “Krashlyn.”

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Image: Instagram/alikrieger

However, it wasn’t until March 2019 when Krieger and Harris finally lifted the lid on their relationship. During an interview with People, you see, the pair confirmed that they’d been dating for close to a decade. But that was certainly not all, as the soccer stars had yet another big announcement to make in the magazine’s pages.

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Image: Instagram/ashlynharris24

Yes, Harris and Krieger also revealed that they are engaged, with the pair intending to marry in late 2019 in Florida. The versatile defender explained, too, why she and her fiancée had kept their romance private prior to the announcement. According to her, they were concerned about the attention potentially having a detrimental effect on their club.

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“We wanted to be professional and make sure that we showed up every day and did our job,” Krieger told People. “It wasn’t just because we were together, it was because we love what we do, and we’re really good at what we do. And that was most important for us.”

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Image: Instagram/alikrieger

Harris spoke as well about her and Krieger’s feelings ahead of the announcement. She told the magazine, “We became more and more confident within ourselves and then clearly within our relationship. We were like, ‘Now is the right time.’ And I feel like it’s a massive weight off of my shoulders.”

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Image: Instagram/alikrieger

“Finally, after all these years, I just feel like I don’t have to hide anything,” Harris added, “or feel like I’m not living up to the community I’m in.” The goalkeeper chose, too, to look back on her relationship with Krieger, during which she gave some insight into the early days of their romance.

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Image: Instagram/alikrieger

In fact, it became readily apparent that Harris and Krieger had shared a deep connection even back then. Harris explained, “We became really close friends. And we just hung out, we clicked, and we had so much in common. We always sat next to each other on the bus and on flights.”

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Harris added, “We kind of just talked about our dreams and our hopes and what we wanted to do one day when we grew up. Because at the time, we were kids. The rest has kind of been history. Here we are nine years later, and we’re going to be getting married this year.”

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From there, Krieger and Harris each offered some more information about what had attracted them to the other. And on Krieger’s part, it appeared that her fiancée’s “creativity and ambition” had been major factors in her appeal.

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Image: Instagram/alikrieger

The defender elaborated, “I find [those qualities] so attractive, and the way that [Harris] makes me a better person. I think that I’m very quiet and reserved. Since being with [Harris], I really feel like I’ve blossomed into the woman that I want to be, and she’s helped me become the woman I am.”

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As for Harris, while she was drawn to Krieger’s self-confidence, the attraction extended beyond that. The Florida native revealed, “It was [Krieger’s] big, beautiful brown eyes. She has these unbelievable tiger eyes. I just felt like every time she was talking, I wasn’t even paying attention to what she was saying.”

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In addition, it was revealed that Harris and Krieger had actually become engaged a few months before in September 2018. On that occasion, the couple had been spending time together on Florida’s Clearwater Beach following the conclusion of the soccer season. And when the day was drawing to a close, the keeper had pulled out a ring.

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Image: Instagram/ashlynharris24

“It was a really good time because I felt really on the same page with [Harris],” Krieger said of that experience. “[I was] really excited about our future and talking about our future plans with kids and family and things like that. It just was a really good time.”

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Image: Facebook/Ali Krieger

However, while Krieger may have thought in hindsight that the timing was right, she was still somewhat taken aback by Harris’ proposal on the beach. Krieger revealed, “I was really surprised because it just seemed like another weekend getaway for us. I wasn’t really thinking about [a proposal] at all!”

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Image: Facebook/Ali Krieger

Harris also offered some insight into her perspective of that day. She said, “It was just us and this beautiful scenery, and I was just like… [Krieger] was making me laugh, she wanted me to take pictures, and here I am. This is what I’m gonna be doing the rest of my life. It just all froze, and I was like, ‘This is it.’”

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Image: Instagram/alikrieger

Meanwhile, following the interview with People, Harris and Krieger took to their respective social media accounts to share the news. The goalkeeper, for instance, made an Instagram post that simply read, “She said YES!” alongside a picture of the pair. That message was popular, too, earning over 95,000 likes and more than 1,700 comments on the site.

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Image: Daniel Seung Lee via NBC News

And Krieger’s photo of the ring on Instagram page provoked a similarly large response. That post earned close to 110,000 likes on the social media website, in fact, alongside over 3,500 comments from online users. However, one of those messages may have stood out above all the rest.

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Image: Instagram/alikrieger

“I’m thinking that this will be like starting dating all over again!” wrote the Instagram user. “You have the time to just be you – wanting to be with each other, falling all over again. This could stay hot forever! Resilience kept you together all these years. Now is the time to reap the benefits.”

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Image: Instagram/ashlynharris24

“Congratulations,” the Instagram user added. “May you lead a long, happy and healthy life.” Before Krieger and Harris celebrate their big day, though, there’s another significant event on the horizon. In June 2019 the Women’s World Cup is set to take place in France, and the goalkeeper is naturally preparing herself for the tournament.

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