Soccer Star Ali Krieger on the Power of Being a Role Model

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U.S. Women’s Soccer League player Ali Krieger talks being a role model and the best sunscreen. (Photo: @akrieger11)

Ali Krieger confesses that her love affair with with the game of soccer started at a young age, after being coached by her father while playing youth soccer. Today, the 30-year-old holds the position of defender for the U.S Women’s Soccer League and the team is celebrating their 2015 World Cup win over Japan.

Krieger’s path to success, however, has not been free from hurdles. She suffered from numerous physical setbacks ranging from blood clots in her lungs in 2006, to a torn ACL and MCL before the 2012 Olympic games, and most recently a concussion earlier this year after being chosen for her second World Cup. Yet these physical setbacks have not stopped her. Kreiger keeps coming back back stronger and more determined. As a role model to young girls in the #SheBelieves campaign, Kreiger shows that you can’t let your physical barriers define who you are and what you are able to accomplish. We caught up with Krieger to talk about her career, her favorite sunscreen, and Beyoncé.

Yahoo Beauty: How do you prepare for a big game on a daily basis?

Ali Krieger: For me, I just set little goals for myself and stay on that kind of track and surround myself with positive people along with my teammates. I just kind of have my goals and my dreams and I this is something that we’ve all been working for our entire lives so it is kind of easy to wake up and want to better myself everyday towards that goal. I don’t know I am so excited it’s my second World Cup.

How did you get into soccer? I know you played in college and your dad is a soccer coach, did that help you find the game?

He introduced me to the game at such a young age. I think wanting to hang out with my brother all the time when I was younger, like kicking the ball around and chasing him around the indoor facility, that was probably what attracted me at first because I just wanted to be around him all the time. My dad has been my coach since I was seven years old, from 7 to 18 is when he coached my club team, and so it was always in the family. He introduced me to soccer at a young age and also kind of molded me into a good player at a young age too. Which then I grew to love the game and be as passionate as he was.

Is he still coaching?

He coaches in McLean in Virginia at a club down south so yeah he loves it and following, watching, supporting — he thinks it’s awesome.

So how do you keep your energy up, on and off the field? Do you do something or eat something that pumps you up?

Yeah, I mean coffee I guess for me is something that really gets me going, but you know in all seriousness it’s my routine, it’s my nutrition as well. Just getting the proper nutrients, the protein, and things that are going to make me good in the gym or out on the field. I think that food is so important.

Are you strict on your diet?

No, I’m not because if I am too strict, I feel like then I’ll just binge on chocolate and treats instead of just allowing myself to just have a few treats here and there, have a cupcake or doughnut when I want. And then it motivates me to want to go workout. I live a healthy lifestyle anyways, so it’s kind of natural for me to gravitate towards healthier food choices.

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Ali Krieger on the field. (Photo: Getty Images)

Perfect! And how about music, I saw you made a playlist for Nike but are there any songs that you listen to right before you get on the field that instantly pumps you up and gets you ready?

Any kind of dance or house, remix type music, I really love that. That will really pump me up. I really love anything Beyoncé, honestly that would pump me up.

Physically, how do you stay positive, despite physical injuries you’ve incurred? I read a lot about you and just the fact that you are sitting here is pretty much a testament to your perseverance.

Aw, thanks! It was super difficult, obviously, after every injury you never know if you will be able to get back on the field or in the gym or even walk again properly. It takes a toll on you, mentally more than physically, because you have to kind of overcome these obstacles. I made my rehab a 9-5 job, which was my new focus. I had to get back on that field and I only had a certain amount of time that I needed to do it.

To stay positive, I honestly tell everyone to surround yourself with good people, surround yourself with positivity and people who are going to challenge you to make you better. If you just kind of let yourself stay alone and be by yourself, the negative, it is just not going to help you. You can control two things, your work ethic and your attitude about anything, not even just sports but in anything in life and I just attacked it.

That’s awesome. As far as role models go, you’ve talked before about your dad and your mom and you seem very close with your brother.

Yeah, I am super close with my brother. He is my ultimate role model. Growing up and having a family break apart, you know when my parents divorced and things like that, it was a struggle and all we had was each other at the time. I think that’s when it began. He kind of like looked after me and took care of me in a way and kind of tried to be that role model for me at such a young age. Right now he is doing phenomenal and he is super happy.

Now you were just in Brazil, what did you do sunblock wise, how did you find a sunblock that worked for you in the strong heat?

It was brutal. I use zinc a lot, I put it here [motioning to under her eyes], because I don’t want any wrinkles but we are outside all day, everyday and you have to wear sunblock. My favorite right now is Neutrogena, I use a lot of Neutrogena products, but I also use one that my dermatologist suggested, called MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Crème. I can wear it and I never break out from it, and it was really comfortable for my skin.

You were just a part of the movement #SheBelieves, how does that encourage young girls to get involved?

It is so important. It is encouraging young girls to believe in themselves, to build self-confidence, and following your dreams. If you want to be a teacher, a fireman, a nurse, you know anything you want to achieve not just in the field. I think that is why they look up to us so much, and I think that is why we inspire them to want to better themselves. If I have done that, then I’ve succeeded at my job.

I’m sure they look to you as a role model.

I remember when I was at their age wanting the same thing and having a role model to look up to and I think that that’s amazing that if you can be that for some young girl.

In this past week, we all went to our hometowns and had our #SheBelieves campaign clinics, or went to hospitals or just did our own community event in schools.

If you weren’t a soccer player what would you be doing?

I can’t really fathom what else I would do because I think I was born to do this right now. Maybe when I am done, I’d want to get into broadcasting or commentating or do something also to help people help themselves and help people better themselves, that’s what I want to do in anyway possible.                 

The U.S Women’s Soccer team is pumped up for the big game ahead of them with this “American Woman” Nike promo. (Courtesy of Nike)

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