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How Kristie Mewis balanced World Cup loss and support of Sam Kerr

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Australia's Sam Kerr hugs her girlfriend, Kristie Mewis of the USWNT, after the Matildas' World Cup Round of 16 win. (Maddie Meyer/FIFA via Getty Images)

Kristie Mewis took on a difficult position at the 2023 World Cup: attempting to win with the U.S. women’s national team while also cheering on her now-fiancée Sam Kerr, who plays for Australia.

In the new Netflix docuseries “Under Pressure,” which chronicles the USWNT’s World Cup run, Mewis showcases how she balanced the team’s devastating loss in the Round of 16 with her support of Kerr. Mewis’ first minutes in the World Cup came at the end of the team’s shootout loss to Sweden, and included her taking – and making – a penalty kick as her first shot at the tournament.

“One of the coaches came over to me and Kelley [O’Hara] and he was just like, ‘I hope you guys are preparing yourselves to take a penalty kick.’ And I was kind of like, what?” Mewis said, noting that she entered the game, “running around for maybe 30 seconds” before the final whistle blew.

Still, she felt more than ready for her penalty shot.

“I’ve never felt more confident in a moment,” she said. “I have been preparing for that moment my whole life. Every time I went out and trained, every time I kicked with my left foot, I was training for that one moment. Because that was the only moment that I was going to get in the World Cup.”

Yet despite Mewis’ successful kick, the USWNT lost the shootout, resulting in the team’s earliest exit ever in a World Cup.

Instead of going home with the rest of the team, Mewis stayed in Australia to cheer for Kerr and the Matildas. While Kerr had started the tournament sidelined with an injury, she played in Australia’s quarterfinal match with Mewis in the stands. And she made her own penalty kick in that match, which Australia won over France to advance to the semifinals.

“It didn’t end the way that we wanted it to. But also, Sweden deserved to win. They kept us from scoring and they did better with their penalties,” Mewis said, before noting that the decision to stay and support Kerr was an easy one.

“Yes, my dream of being at a World Cup and winning a World Cup is now over. But Sam’s in the quarterfinals,” she continued. “This is just so crazy, this is everything that she’s always wanted too. Everyone knows that the U.S. team went back home, but there’s no place I’d rather be. I’m so happy to be here and support her. Obviously it is a little bit hard, but I think I can separate it because I love her so much.”

Even still, that love has boundaries. Mewis refused to wear an Australia jersey to support Kerr, despite the rest of Kerr’s family and friends doing so.

“They’re like, ‘Where’s your jersey? Where’s your jersey?’” Mewis said. “And I like, cannot put on an Australian jersey.”