As United States Women’s National Team players return home, all but one of the 21 will have to eventually report back to their WPS teams. Abby Wambach and 10 other U.S. players made their way to Rochester for Wednesday’s historic WPS homecoming match between magicJack and Western New York Flash.
But Ali Krieger is just returning to the United States for a little time off. Krieger, born in Alexandria, Va., is currently out of contract. She spent the last four seasons with Frankfurt in the Frauen-Bundesliga, making her inclusion into the U.S. World Cup team – where she played every minute – that much more remarkable.
The U.S. Women’s National Team uses WPS almost exclusively for recruiting players. Krieger is the lone exception since the league’s inception (other than college players), but she spent a short time with the Washington Freedom on loan in 2009.
Krieger admits she feels some pressure to play domestically.
“Yeah, a little bit,” she said. “I hear the girls talking about it at different times. But I love Frankfurt and I love playing in Germany. I love the European league and I love the Bundesliga. That door isn’t closed. But I felt a little bit of pressure on the opposite side of things. I felt like I wasn’t always available to come home on this (U.S.) team. So that’s why I chose this over that. So now I am just concentrating on the team, concentrating on the Olympics and hopefully that will be good for now.”
Krieger said she started receiving calls from WPS teams “since I landed” off the plane from Germany on Monday, but that the exhausting U.S. Women’s National Team schedule has worn her out over the past 10 months.
“Currently I am unsure of what I want to do. I am pretty tired and I am drained from the long year – the 10 month Bundesliga season that I just played before the World Cup, so it’s been a lot. We already turn it around in September, training for the Olympics, so I think I might just take this time and relax and get my head back. Mentally and emotionally it was pretty draining.”
With no WPS teams confirming they are close to a deal with Krieger, it sounds like any move to WPS would be on hold until 2012. But like Krieger said, “the doors aren’t closed. I’m keeping an open mind. We’ll see.”
And magicJack owner Dan Borislow makes a good point: Just because Krieger had a stellar World Cup and is out of contract does not mean that she is automatically in demand.
“I think there is too much uncertainty to sign really good international players right now,” he said. “Krieger obviously is an American and plays on (the U.S. Women’s National Team), but that in itself doesn’t guarantee a future for her.”
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