Like all pro athletes, USWNT power couple Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger suddenly find themselves with a lot of time on their hands due to the coronavirus pandemic. And they’ve been using some that time to reflect.
Specifically, they’ve focused on the importance of using their status as a platform to be more visible as a married lesbian couple. While the two soccer stars had dated for over a decade, it took until 2019 to make their relationship public when they announced their engagement on social media.
Since getting married, Krieger and Harris have striven to set themselves as public examples for other members of the LGBTQ community. Harris discussed how their current mindset was influenced by societal conditions when she was growing up, in a recent interview with Popsugar’s Samantha Brodsky:
“I didn’t see people of my community, and it made me feel like I had to hide, and it made me feel that I couldn’t live my truth. I think, for us, that is something that Ali and I strive to do just to create the visibility aspect of our sport and in our life and show that we get happy endings too.”
As if to demonstrate how happy such an ending can get, Harris and Krieger tied the knot in a lavish late-December wedding in Miami and published the first photos from the ceremony in People Magazine.
For Harris, the events of 2019 helped her realize what she could do with the platform she had as a public figure. As she told Popsugar, “I finally started living my truth with my wife and with where I sit in society and what I’m trying to accomplish in the short time I have on this planet.”
Krieger, for her part, echoed her partner’s sentiments about standing up for their place in society as a married couple and for their team’s quest for equal pay: “Ashlyn always says that you can’t create change by staying in your own lane. We’re willing to change lanes, we’re willing to create change, and we’re willing to follow through and continue to fight.”
On a recent appearance on The Cooligans, Krieger was even more explicit about why she and Harris have been so public about their relationship: “I’m somewhat of a private person and I feel like now it’s different because we want to be visible to save people’s lives.”
Like all couples, the pandemic has also given Krieger and Harris an extended amount time to spend together. And because so much of their lives revolve around their work on the pitch for the USWNT and the Orlando Pride, their first response to quarantine was to simply take a step back and breathe.
As Harris explained to Cooligans co-hosts Christian Polanco and Alexis Guerreros, “Seriously, we’re just enjoying resting. We never get time to chill, we’re never home so for the first week, we slept most of the day away and we haven’t had that kind of sleep in probably ten years.”
After catching up a bit on that decade of rest, Krieger and Harris have been doing what they can to stay in shape while the NWSL has indefinitely suspended play like all other sports leagues. Harris noted that “Now that [the Olympics] have been pushed back to next summer, now we have time to build that all back up without putting ourselves in jeopardy.”
As a last word, Ashlyn Harris gave Polanco and Guerreros perhaps the wisest piece of advice anyone has conceived of throughout the entire course of the pandemic:
“I just think at this point with what’s going on right now...STAY THE FUCK HOME, BITCH!”
Maybe it’s time to put her in charge of addressing the nation every day.