Photo coutsey of Leoboudv
via Wikipedia and Flickr
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
LE HAVRE, FRANCE (June 21, 2019) The United States Women’sNational Team (USWNT) took down their rival Sweden in a 2-0 victory to advance to the knockout rounds of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. This game was also the third straight shutout game for the United States.
While Sweden was the most formidable opponent that The Stars and Stripes has encountered during the tournament, the American defense had a chance to shine. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher (shown right) had gone mostly untested by previous teams. During this match, Sweden shot at Naeher seven different times and no goal was scored.
Naeher has been largely overshadowed by successes of her predecessors, Hope Solo and Briana Scurry. Solo was released by the U.S. Soccer Federation after some unsportsmanlike comments she made about the Swedish players during the Rio Olympics. While Solo was good, many critics will say that Briana Scurry was even better. Highly decorated, Scurry was the U.S. goalkeeper for the 1995, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2007 US Women’s National Teams and is currently the first assistant coach for the Washington Spirit in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
While living in the shadows of these great goalkeepers, Naeher has made a name for herself in the NSWL. She is the starting goalkeeper for the Chicago Red Stars and received the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2014, as well as a “Best 11” award that year as well. Last season with the Red Stars, she played a total of 2,070 minutes and had seven clean sheets.
In 48 appearances internationally, Naeher has 27 clean sheets (shutouts). She is not flashy as Solo but is a strong consistent keeper like Scurry. The casual fan will not hear much about her because she is a strong and quiet leader of the backfield. Most fans will hear her name, but not know much about her.
She is best known for her quiet leadership. She isn’t flashy and doesn’t relish the limelight. She doesn’t push agendas; letting her play speak for itself. This is something that the USWNT has needed for quite some time. It will be interesting to see her in action on Monday, June 24, when they take on Spain at 11 a.m.