Throughout the course of its history in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), no two players have taken the pitch more for the Orlando Pride than Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger.
Since their respective arrivals ahead of the 2016 and 2017 NWSL seasons, the pair have been namesakes for the Pride defense, with Harris finishing her time in Orlando as the Club’s all-time appearance leader at 89, followed close behind by Krieger with 86.
The 2016 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, Harris earned NWSL Save of the Week honors 39 times as a member of the Pride, posting 16 clean sheets and tallying 321 saves, becoming the league’s all-time saves leader earlier this year with her 469th in NWSL play.
A two-time NWSL Best XI selection (2017, 2019) while a member of the Pride, Krieger finishes her Pride tenure having contributed to 13 shutouts and adding seven assists, serving as the most consistent face on the backline the last five seasons.
As a pair, the two have become two-time FIFA World Cup Champions, each recorded their 100th NWSL appearances and helped to define what it means to play for the Orlando Pride through their passion and commitment to their craft. However, while their on-field impact has been great, it’s the work done off the field that truly encompasses the legacy that they leave behind.
The two words that defined the pair throughout their time in The City Beautiful.
On the field, the fight is evident. Off it, it’s unapologetic.
At the forefront is the pairs’ irreverent commitment to the fight for equality, hallmarked in their time in The City Beautiful by their work with the LGBTQ+ community and the push for pay equity for women.
Since the tragic events of June 12, 2016, Harris has remained one of the most vocal in the Orlando community in remembering the 49 angels lost that night, namely dawning a No. 49 kit near the one-year anniversary of the tragedy in 2017.
“It’s been absolutely heartbreaking for our community. It’s senseless, I feel broken inside for this community and the victims and their families. People really don’t understand the situation until they’re completely involved and so close to it,” Harris said on June 15, 2016, three days following the tragedy. “Seeing how sad and how broken this community is right now is hard to swallow. We can’t be silent anymore. We’ve been silent for too long and I’m no longer going to be quiet about it. Playing for this Club, there’s more than just the name Pride. It’s about bringing a community together, putting them on our shoulders and bringing hope and love back to this place. That’s what we’re going to do and we’re going to bring hope and love back here. One act is not going to break us, it’s not going to define us because we’re one. Orlando is one and we’re united.”
Harris kept her promise, sharing the Pride’s emotional return to the pitch with Krieger, who was then a member of the Washington Spirit, on June 18, 2016. Upon Krieger’s arrival to The City Beautiful ahead of the 2017 NWSL season, the two have become ingrained in the Orlando LGBTQ+ community, working with the onePulse Foundation and remaining steadfast in their commitment to equality for all.
In the fight for equal rights for women, the pair have amplified that very discussion, speaking heavily on the need for investment in the women’s game while continually using their respective platforms to help evoke change.
“At the end of the day, we’re playing for the victims. We’re playing for the survivors and we’re fighting for change and we’re fighting for them,” Krieger said after the Pride’s return to the pitch following the reports of sexual coercion and abuse that came to light this past season. “I know that deep down, even though it’s really difficult for us to do that, we’re all coming together as powerful women and standing our ground and voicing that this isn’t okay and creating change through that.”
"I feel like soccer is only going to give you so much in return,” Harris told PEOPLE following the Pride’s historic Ad Astra kit launch earlier this year. “Inspiring the next generation of young boys and girls, and inspiring and standing up for trans children and LBGTQ+ communities that have been left behind a lot [is what keeps me here].”
Simply put, the history of the Orlando Pride can not be written without Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger.
Since their respective arrivals, the two have ingrained themselves both in Club and community.
Harris, the hometown kid that elicited a passion in which she would “die for the badge”.
Krieger, the stalwart defender who became a pillar of the Orlando community herself, going so far as to join the Orlando City broadcast team in her time here.
The two have left their mark on The City Beautiful in a way that few have and that deserves to be celebrated. As players, as captains, but most importantly as badass women who refuse to live anything but their truth.
Thank you, Ash and Ali.