In soccer, a goalkeeper’s job is to keep the ball from going into the goal. For Ashlyn Harris, the keeper for the Orlando Pride, this job means far more than making the diving save. “It shouldn’t be a highlight reel every single game if everyone’s doing their job,” Harris pointed out after the Pride’s 2-0 win over the Seattle Reign, in which she posted a shutout.
Harris has made a few incredible saves so far this season, including a diving save off a header against the Houston Dash that was voted NWSL Save of the Week. Harris, however, would rather not have the opportunity to earn this honor, saying, “I mean, at the end of the day, I don’t want to make the save of the week.” Instead, she entrusts the defense in front of her to keep the ball away. “If my players in front of me are doing what they should,” she added, “I shouldn’t have to make 10 saves a game.”
Challenging her teammates to go above their duties is key to Harris. “What I asked the team before we took the field is today we’re going to have to do our role and go beyond it.” She acknowledged that her team had to step up, saying, “Nothing’s given in this league, and you have to work for everything.”
Harris isn’t absolving herself of any responsibility, though. “I point out myself too,” she explained, “because there’s [sic] breakdowns [in the defense] and I have to see it before it happens.” And when she doesn’t, Harris knows where the blame lies, “If I’m not seeing it and communicating it, that’s on me.”
Even with yet another amazing save in the 82nd minute, Harris shares the credit for the shutout. “Today, that was a team win, and the shutout came from a collective group of players willing to put everything on the line, as you could see.” That save was the first of only two shots that Harris faced in the game, and she thanked her stalwart defense, “So today, I think my back line did a great job.”
But she added a message for anyone that might get past her defenders, saying that if opposing players, “step inside the eighteen… they’re going to have to hit something well to beat me.”