Soccer stars Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris open up about adoption, motherhood and high standards: 'I don't cut corners as a mom. I don't cut corners as an athlete'

Soccer power couple Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger open up about adoption and working to be both
Soccer power couple Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger open up about adoption and working to be both "elite" moms and athletes. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
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Welcome to So Mini Ways, Yahoo Life's parenting series on the joys and challenges of child-rearing.

Family life has been a whirlwind for soccer power couple Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger. The couple wed in 2019 after a decade-long relationship, adopting daughter Sloane in February 2021. Baby boy Ocean joined the family in August, which means the two-time World Cup champions now have two tots under 2, plus two very active dogs, Logan and Storm. Despite the rapid growth of the Harris-Krieger family, “big sis” is just as smitten with her baby brother as her parents.

“She loves him. We, weren't sure at first, it could’ve gone both ways,” says Harris. The pair admit they were nervous about how their eldest tot would react to such a big change. Spoiler: it’s working out.

“Now I'm like, ‘Honey, you're suffocating him. He's doing tummy time and that doesn't mean you have to be on top of him.’ It’s really cute. I love her in love with him. She wakes up and looks at us and goes, ‘Baby! Baba!’ She is the ultimate big sister,” says Krieger. The two immediately pull out of a photo of Sloane kissing her brother on the forehead, immediately turning the discussion into a chorus of heart-melting "Oh my Gods."

Though, it’s not all about the cute stuff. These two years as parents have taught them that raising children isn’t for the fainthearted. Both women — who until Harris's recent retirement, both played for Gotham FC — have balanced a packed schedule full of public appearances, brand partnerships and the grueling work on and off the field that comes with being star athletes.

“It's tough being a mom. It's the hardest job we've ever had because we hold each other and ourselves to such a high standard. We want to be the best at everything. So we want to be the most elite moms, the most elite athlete, and everything,” says Krieger. “Just having that energy to be present in the home and give our kids everything we have after we come home from work and in the mornings, setting up the day for success.”

For Harris, being the best mom requires a similar approach to how she showed up on the field. “I'm a firm believer in 'how you do anything is how you do everything,'”she said asked about what it means to be an “elite” mom. “I don't cut corners as a mom. I don't cut corners as an athlete. I don't cut corners as a partner. I own my failures when I make mistakes because I have to give myself grace as a parent. I'm not always gonna get it right.”

Earlier this month, Harris announced her retirement from playing on the field.

"To my wife Ali and children Sloane and Ocean,” she wrote in a lengthy, heartfelt caption. “You all give me purpose far beyond the field. I can only hope to continue being the best wife and mom in the world to you all. I love you so much and can’t wait to show up every day the way you all deserve.”

The announcement came after the couple's discussion with Yahoo Life, though it’s clear that both women have been eyeing the future for some time and they're open to new possibilities. Krashlyn—as fans affectionately refer to them—have evolved into power players off the field, centering LGBTQ visibility, women's rights and business dealings that match their active lifestyle. Their latest partnership with Align Women’s Dual Action Probiotic is a reflection of that.

“It focuses on gut health, but equally important, vaginal health, and I think it's a topic we don't speak about very often,” Harris says. “Also, it’s by women and for women."

Krieger and Harris are equally passionate about motherhood and deeply grateful for having the opportunity to adopt. “There are so many children out there that just need a chance, who just need a good home,” says Krieger. “It's not always an easy process, but it is so worth it in the end.”

The two also agree that despite their lengthy romance, they're still learning about one another. They have an understanding that on some days, responsibilities aren't always split up 50/50 and sometimes you need to carry a little extra weight for your partner's sake.

"What's so beautiful about Ali and I is we are very OK with being vulnerable," Harris says, explaining that sometimes they need a break and to find ways to refuel. As for how they refuel? Before Harris can get in a word, Krieger is quick to chime in: "Target. I'm a very big fan of the Target or Publix run," she says with a laugh.

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