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Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger make their picks for NWSL expansion

(Jesse Louie/Just Women's Sports)

At this stage in their careers, Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger are more committed than ever to the growth of women’s soccer, especially the NWSL.

After the U.S. women’s national team’s success at the 2015 and 2019 World Cups showcased the popularity of women’s soccer in the United States, Harris hopes the NWSL can continue to build off the trend.

“How can we steal that secret cocktail and insert it into the NWSL? Because when we are playing with the national team, no matter where we go, we’re a traveling circus. There are 60,000 people in the stadium, people going nuts for us,” Harris told Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams on the Snacks podcast. “We had this winning mentality, we had all these sponsors, there was so much buzz about us.

“So, how can we take that type of culture and put it in our backyards in every city and get people to show up and continue that momentum and that buzz? I think that’s what we’re on the brink of right now.”

Harris and Krieger point to NWSL expansion club Angel City — which is supported by a group of celebrity investors and already leads the NWSL in attendanceas an example of progress, with Harris saying she hopes the club’s professionalism transfers to the entire league.

When asked where they would like to see the league expand next, Harris made a passionate pitch. NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman has said the league plans to add two teams by 2024.

“I would love Miami to come in. If David Beckham wants to call me to get things rolling, I’m ready,” Harris said. “You have to have good cities to attract big players. I can get a Sam Kerr in Miami.”

As for Krieger, she would be interested in Nashville or Austin joining the NWSL, with both cities already home to successful men’s clubs.

Looking ahead to the next generation, Harris and Krieger believe the league is in good hands.

“The rookies coming into the league, they kind of give us all a little bit of a spark. I feel like they have this new wave attitude towards the game and how they carry themselves,” Krieger said. “A lot of our rookies, they have such a willingness to learn and get better, and they’re asking questions, and that’s actually really refreshing.”

Listen to the full episode of Snacks for more from Harris and Krieger on the future of the NWSL.