Ashlyn Harris & Ali Krieger: Investing in women's football can improve international competition

Lizzy Becherano
Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger push for the investment of women's football.
Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger push for the investment of women's football. / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

NWSL and USWNT players Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger discussed the importance of investing in women’s football, insisting it could be the key to improving international football. 

The two figures have played an instrumental role in shaping the modern era of women’s football in the United States. Beyond their successes on the pitch that include lifting the 2015 and 2019 FIFA World Cup trophies, Harris and Krieger have used their platform to fight for equal pay and the development of the NWSL’s first CBA. 

With a long road still ahead for the United States, the two looked to FC Barcelona Femeni’s recent success as a guide to follow for success in women’s sports. 

"I think for so long, we've been talking about investment in the women's game. This is what investment in the women's game looks like," said Ashlyn Harris on the most recent episode of Football Americana

"These leagues are doing so well because they're actually pouring money into their women's programs at home. Every weekend, Barcelona having almost 92,000 people at their games, this is investment in women and it's only going to make them better and more successful on the world stage, so that is my biggest thing."

"We've been saying this for so long. We've been fighting with our employers for so long about investing in the women's program and the women's team.

"And other countries are finally starting to get it and now you're seeing the rewards of it, so that's my biggest thing about there's no coincidence. This is exactly what it's supposed to look like. When you invest in women, incredible things can happen and that's what we're seeing around the world right now."

Ali Krieger continued to point out that as other nations improve, it motivates the USWNT to perform better. While the American side has long dominated the international stage, the improvement of Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, among others, works to 'light a fire' within. 

"And I think it's so healthy that other countries and other leagues are getting better and because that'll just light a fire underneath of us to really get our shit together and continue to train harder, be fitter and faster and stronger. And I think that if we were constantly at the top with no fire underneath of us, it does get a little bit stale and it's not as motivating," exclaimed Krieger.

"And now that other teams are catching up, so to speak, and other leagues are really pouring money and sponsorships and fans and supporters are showing up and creating these environments and atmospheres that make players want to play for these clubs in these leagues, we all see that. And I feel like that is just going to motivate us here in the US to want to do the same."

International football is already seeing the benefits. In an upset, the top-ranked US women’s soccer team lost its semi-final game to Canada 1-0 at the Tokyo Olympics. Canada ended up taking the Gold medal, with Sweden in second with Silver and the USWNT with Bronze. 

While it was a disappointing result for the American side, it only proved the investment in women’s sports can work to develop the game worldwide.