The Midfielder Kicks It at Red Bull Arena This Month
Allie Long, along with the rest of the U.S. Women’s National soccer team, will be defending their title in the SheBelieves Cup; a tournament tour that stops at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ on March 4. In its second year, the SheBelieves Cup is a round-robin tournament with only the top four teams in the world invited: United States, Germany, France, and England.
This will be the first contest between the U.S. and England since the inaugural tournament last year and the women of the national team have put in rigorous off-season training to clinch the win, as they did in 2016. In our conversation with Allie she tells us what it feels like to be defending The Cup on the “home turf”, having local support, and why people are going to want to be there for the match.
Last year was the inaugural She Believes Cup and the WNT came out victorious, how does it feel to come back and defend the title again in front of the home crowd?
There is nothing better than having to defend the title on your home turf. We have the best fans in the world and for them to be there for us fighting for the Cup again means everything.
What’s the preparation been like as you prepare to face three of the top five teams in the world? How much of it is mental hurdles and how much is physical?
We had a physically and mentally demanding three week January camp. A lot of our preparation between training camps is solely up to the player. It takes a lot of discipline and sacrifice to stay at the top of our game while we are away from the team. The other countries are in the middle of their professional seasons so they will be ready.
Being from New York, is there something particularly special about being back to play in the tristate area?
Growing up on Long Island and living in NYC for a little, there is nothing better than getting to represent your country in front of all the people who have helped you get to where you are. It will be extremely special and truly a dream come true! I think I have about 60 people coming to support me.
What’s different about playing in a tournament like this vs. the World Cup or Olympics and why are people going to want to come out to Red Bull Arena for it?
There are no elimination rounds and [it’s] limited to only four teams. I take such pride in representing the United States of America. Every time I step on the field I approach it like it is a World Cup or an Olympic game.
People are going to want to see the best teams in the world compete against each other. The games will be exciting, intense and some of the best football in the world will be on display. It is a special time as we continue to fight for equality on and off the field. We are empowering hundreds of thousands of people, especially females around the country.