US Soccer Pros Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger on the Women’s Health Issue ‘We Don’t Talk about Enough’
Go ahead, call them soccer moms. The US Women's Soccer power couple opens up about the authentic connection that's essential in a relationship, raising healthy kids, and their role in the "humbling" fight for women's pay equality.
The demands of parenthood aren’t new. Finding time for your kids, your partner, your work, yourself…it’s an endless daily hustle to keep up. Now imagine on top of all that, you’re also a professional athlete physically exhausting your body every day, coming home to take care of two kids under two—all while you’re fighting for financial equality for yourself, your colleagues, and generations of women to come.
Actually, scratch that. We can’t even begin to imagine it, so we have to ask: are Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger secretly superheroes?
Though Harris, 37, is freshly retired as of November 14, the couple are known for their superstar soccer playing with the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT), helping snag World Cup victories in 2015 and 2019. Krieger, 38, still plays for NY/NJ Gotham FC, for which Harris now works as the Global Creative Advisor. On top of all that, since February 2021 they’ve also become parents, adopting their second child in August 2022.
So how do they manage balance and bliss with so much going on? The Healthy @Reader’s Digest spoke with Harris and Krieger about their secrets for a healthy, active lifestyle…no superpowers required.
Ira L. Black - Corbis/getty images
Finding balance on and off the field
Harris and Krieger say one of their keys to staying grounded is finding the right vitamins and supplements for their bodies. The couple recently partnered with Align Probiotic for its launch of the Women’s Dual Action Probiotic, which is formulated to soothe bloating and gut discomfort, support vaginal health and ease PMS symptoms. “[We’ve both been] professional athletes, we’re professional moms now, and the importance of having overall health—whatever helps us on the field, and off the field—we really value,” Harris says.
“It balances you for the entire day,” Krieger adds. “And also, they’re helping women [understand] the importance of … supporting both gut health and vaginal health, which is I think really inspiring because we don’t talk about it enough.”
Nutritional balance is also a crucial cornerstone. “Ali is a little bit more vegetarian than I am,” Harris says. “So when we’re cooking, we keep that in mind. We have about an 80/20 balance in terms of 80% is plant-based, about 20% sometimes is meat.” They’re also mindful of how their diet impacts their long term health: with dementia running in the family, the couple says they avoid fried foods, which are among the worst foods for your brain.
“It’s also our lifestyle because we have to eat healthy in order to perform at our best,” Krieger says. “You have your sandwiches and chips every once in a while. And those little treats, we make sure we get that in so that we don’t binge later.”
“If we’re good, the house is good”
Harris and Krieger say prioritizing give-and-take in their relationship is central to being successful parents.
“Obviously, it’s really difficult having two kids under two because … you don’t get as much sleep as you used to,” Krieger tells The Healthy. “But I do think that we really try to have a good balance between each other. So if Ash’s extremely tired one day and I’m extremely tired the next day, we’ll allow each other to take that time to go and run errands that you need to run, and take time away or go for a nap, and just try to sleep because it’s really important … When we do need a break, we’re not afraid to tell each other that.”
Harris says the two are “full-on moms” when they’re home. “I think the biggest key factor for Ali and I, we always say this: If we’re good, the house is good,” she says. “How we interact is how our children are going to see love for the first time, and companionship and understanding. So we really take those things seriously and we make time for each other because I love my wife—but I genuinely like my wife. I think there’s a big difference. And I think people who are in relationships should understand that. I like my wife a lot. I like to be with my wife, and I like to be connected with my wife.”
Visiting their vacation home in Harris’ hometown of Satellite Beach, FL is one of their favorite ways to center. They say being by the water is “grounding” for both of them. Taking bike rides, walking along the beach and bringing their little ones to a park are all chances to find solace and self-care with their family.
An ongoing fight
This couple is committed to a peaceful home life, but a big moment in Harris’ and Krieger’s careers was defined by conflict. In May 2022, a six-year legal battle was finally brought to an end when the United States Soccer Federation announced it would equalize World Cup prize money for the men’s and women’s national teams—something both women had advocated for.
Even with that victory, they both know the road to equality in women’s sports is still a long one. “What’s grounding and humbling is when you’ve won everything, and you’re so decorated at your sport and then you look at your bank account. That’s humbling,” Harris says. “That’s when you know. We have no cushion. We have no time to rest.”
“The fight will never end,” Krieger adds. “And so the work will never end.”
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