Ali Krieger is one of the greatest players in the history of American soccer. She is an All-Star for the Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League, was a rare American standout for one of the top teams in Germany’s elite Frauen-Bundesliga, and has been a marquee player for the U.S. Women’s National Team, starring in championship performances in the World Cup and the Olympics.
But she readily admits she owes it all to her MVP mom, Debbie Alongi.
“I was always used to having a mom around, and she supported me in everything I did,” the 36-year-old superstar says. “She drove me to all my games, no matter how far away they were all up and down the East Coast.
“There was never really a moment where I felt she wasn’t there, available to help my brother and me, to support us, to push us, and that’s why I am where I am!”
Pulling double duty
Due to divorce, health and physical education teacher Debbie served double duty raising Ali and her brother, Kyle, in Dumfries, Virginia, where it became apparent at an early age that her daughter had a leg up on all the other soccer players in the area.
There was never really a moment where I felt she wasn’t there, available to help my brother and me, to support us, to push us, and that’s why I am where I am!
“I don’t know if I took on the role of both mom and dad, I just took on a role of a better mom maybe,” Debbie says with her signature humility.
She says her dedication to helping her kids achieve success was handed down to her by her own hardworking and attentive parents.
“I was always used to having a mom around, and she supported me in everything I did,” Debbie says. “That was all I knew. What my parents did for me.”
By high school, Debbie and Ali knew they were on a special ride. Ali was a two-time All-Virginia and when she became a senior, was named Gatorade’s Virginia Player of the Year.
“I had recognized, ‘OK, maybe I am good at this,’” Ali recalls. “Going to college was the next step.”
And that’s when mom stepped in again.
“She took me whether it was five and a half hours or six hours to three and a half hours, to visit everywhere we could,” Ali remembers. “[She] put me in a situation where I could be successful and continue down that path.”
For Debbie, the long drives and visits were never a job, but a pleasure.
“The process was fun,” she says. “We would go and visit the colleges, and you could just sit back and watch it all happen and unfold.”
Ali landed at Penn State, where she became a two-time All American. Debbie never missed a game. “It was only four hours away, so I would drive there,” Debbie says. “When I moved to Florida, I told my headmistress at my school, ‘I can’t miss my daughter’s senior year.’”
As you probably could guess by now — she didn’t — arranging with the school to have each Friday and Monday off so she could attend all of Ali’s weekend games.
“I did that for 22 weekends. I had to.” Debbie beams. “That was the best!”
For her part, Ali never missed her mother’s presence.
“It was so important for me to see that too!” she remembers. “She was such a great example to me. She’s the first one in the stands ready to go with all the other moms. It was really motivating for me and created a positive example of what a mother [should be].”
Support beyond sports
Debbie was also there for Ali when she was living thousands of miles away in Germany, discovering who she really was.
Ali had fallen in love with American national teammate, Ashlyn Harris — the woman who would become her wife in 2019. Ali’s older brother Kyle came out to their mom before her, but she was still curious with how Debbie would handle the news.
“She was supportive through my brother’s coming out story,” Ali says. “I remember calling her and I said, ‘Well, I really like this girl … how do you feel about it? What do you think?’”
She needn’t have worried because mom was rooting for her … once again. “I just wanted my kids to be happy,” Debbie says. “You just need to be with somebody who loves you and treats you with respect. They know that’s how I feel.”
Ali is a mother herself now. She and Ashlyn adopted a daughter of their own, Sloane, on Valentine’s Day 2021 — and like Ali, baby Sloane will always have plenty of love and support.
“Life’s full of lessons and Ali knows there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her and Ash and Kyle and that’s just it,” Debbie says. “There’s no limit.”