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Kristie Mewis has recently enjoyed a career renaissance, winning the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup and earning a spot on the United States Women’s National Team 2020 Olympic roster. The 30-year-old’s journey to the top of her game hasn’t been a straight path, however, as she has weathered injury, trades, and positional changes en route to her much-celebrated comeback.

Here’s everything you need to know about the USWNT midfielder.

Early Success in Massachusetts

Born in 1991 in Massachusetts, Mewis grew up in Hanson, a town outside of Boston, with younger sister turned-eventual-teammate Sam Mewis. Mewis’ talent was apparent from a young age, as she made a name for herself at Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, shattering records and winning nearly every award available to a high school athlete.

It didn’t take long for Mewis to make history alongside sister Sam, becoming the first siblings to play on a U.S. World Cup team together when they took the pitch at the New Zealand Women’s U-17 World Cup. The Mewis sisters continued the magic, playing together again in the U-20 World Cup in Germany.

Staying close to home, Mewis attended Boston College after graduating high school, starting her collegiate career in 2009. The midfielder showed her versatility early, filling in on defense when needed while notching five goals and six assists in her rookie year. Continuing to shine in Boston, Mewis’s apex came in her senior year when she finished the season with 16 goals and 12 assists, earning a spot as a Herman Trophy Semifinalist.

NWSL debut and early USWNT career

Mewis was selected third overall in the 2013 NWSL Draft, the league’s first college draft, by FC Kansas City. In her debut season, the club finished second in the standings but was bounced from the playoffs by Portland in the semifinals.

In the same year as her NWSL debut, Mewis received her first senior national team call-up, earning her inaugural cap with the USWNT in February 2013 against Scotland. A few months later, in June of 2013, Mewis notched her first goal with the team, scoring in front of a hometown crowd against South Korea.

After receiving a series of caps with the USWNT, the Massachusetts-native fell out of the national team conversation in 2014 during the Jill Ellis era.

Mewis’ carer in the NWSL also took a turn after she was traded from Kansas City to the Boston Breakers in 2014. During her stint with the club, Mewis signed a three-month loan with Iga FC Kunoichi, a team in Japan’s Nadeshiko League, and then a one-year FC Bayern Munich in 2015.

After her two-year campaign in Boston, Mewis was traded to the Washington Spirit in exchange for Megan Oyster. During her 2017 season with the Spirit, Mewis appeared in 14 games, scoring two goals and one assist. That same year, Mewis was sent to Chicago, scoring a goal in the only game she played for the club.

Once a top NWSL draft pick, Mewis had strung together a series of consistent seasons despite moving around the league, but was perhaps falling short of the wunderkind expectations heaped onto her early in her career.

Houston Dash and ACL injury

Mewis’s career once again zagged when Chicago traded her to the Houston Dash midway through the 2017 season. Despite the midseason switch, the midfielder began to find her footing with the club, excelling with the Dash into the 2018 season. Things took a twist, however, when Mewis tore her ACL during the team’s May 2018 match against the Washington Spirit. Up until that point, Mewis had started in 11 games on the season, scoring two goals for Houston. The injury sidelined her for the remainder of the year, leaving Mewis in a precarious position.

With the benefit of hindsight, Mewis now credits her ACL tear with turning around her career. She told Jeff Kassouf on a 2020 episode of  The Equalizer’s Kickin’ Back podcast that her injury helped her find herself and reassess her career.

“I was just kind of sick of just being mediocre,” said Mewis. “I felt like I had so much more to give, but for some reason I couldn’t get in the mental and physical space to get there, and I was just like, what am I doing?”

In her return to the Dash in 2019, Mewis stepped up her game, starting in 20 matches, scoring four goals, and notching an assist in an impressive comeback season. Her compelling NWSL performance also earned Mewis her first USWNT call-up since 2013, with new coach Vlatko Andonovski inviting her to a December identification camp.

Challenge Cup and USWNT return

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the NWSL to improvise, putting on the inaugural Challenge Cup in 2020 in lieu of a regular season, allowing teams to compete in a bubble-style tournament in Utah. The Houston Dash, led by Mewis, made a surprising run to capture the Challenge Cup title, the club’s first trophy. Starting in seven matches, recording a goal and an assist, Mewis played a critical role in the team’s victory, earning herself a now-infamous Budweiser-aided celebration after the tournament.

Her dominance in the Challenge Cup also earned Mewis a call up to a full senior USWNT camp in the fall of 2020, ahead of the team’s friendly against the Netherlands. On that trip, Mewis recorded her first national team cap in six years, entering the team’s match against the Dutch in the second half. Her re-emergence into the USWNT fold would’ve been sweet enough, but Mewis wrote her name in the history books, scoring in the 70th minute, 2,722 days since her last goal with the team.

It was the longest any player had ever gone in between goals for the USWNT.

The 30-year-old’s triumph marked a full-circle moment for Mewis, who had committed herself to get back on the pitch with the U.S. following her ACL injury.

“I just was so motivated and so determined, and I knew that I just had to get back on the national team because that was obviously my ultimate goal,” Mewis told her sister Sam and teammate Lynn Williams on the Snacks podcast.

Mewis’ success with the USWNT continued through 2021, as she clinched a spot on Andonovski’s Tokyo Olympic roster alongside sister Sam Mewis.

What Comes Next

Mewis, left unprotected in the 2022 NWSL Expansion Draft by Houston, was selected by the San Diego Wave before being traded to Gotham FC. The star midfielder will join a stacked NJ/NY roster, including MVP nominee Margaret Purce and Defender of the Year Caprice Dydasco. With the 2023 World Cup cycle on the horizon, Mewis will also look to make a case for her place in a competitive USWNT midfield pool.