New England Soccer Today

A Well-Deserved Call for Naeher

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Ask anybody on the Breakers roster for their thoughts on goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher’s selection to the United States Women’s National Team World Cup roster, and the answers are all the same.

They aren’t shocked.

Naeher, a native from Bridgeport, Conn., was one of three goalkeepers – including Ashlyn Harris and Hope Solo – called up by U.S. head coach Jill Ellis’ squad for the sport’s biggest tournament.

Despite making only one appearance for the U.S. prior to her selection to the World Cup roster, the 27-year-old keeper has proven herself as one of the top goalies in the country, most notably winning NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014.

“I don’t think any of us were really surprised in the Boston area,” defender Kassey Kallman said regarding Naeher’s selection. “She’s an unbelievable goalkeeper and she works super hard, so we’re super excited that she’s going to be representing the U.S.”

Defender Julie King, who has started in six games on the Breakers backline this year, also believes that Naeher’s selection is well-deserved.

“First of all, she’s a really hard worker,” King said. “Every day she trains 100 percent, and she has put herself in a position where she’s one of the best in the country, if not one of the best in the world as well. She gives her whole heart to everything she does, and is her own toughest critic.”

As a center back, King acknowledged the boost in confidence knowing a goalkeeper of Naeher’s capabilities is behind her.

“She can pull out some saves in some crazy places, and is one of the best keepers I have ever played with, hands-down,” she said.

When asked what makes Naeher such a presence in net, Kallman touched on her athleticism and also recognized her abilities to make key saves in big moments.

“She pulls out some absolutely amazing saves that you think the shot is going in but she’ll get a hand on it or knock it over the bar,” said Kallman, who is in her first year with the club.

“She has unbelievable talent and her shot-stopping, as well as her ability to lead in the back,” she added. “Being a center back, that communication is really good with her, and just as much as she leads, she listens.”

During the 2014 season, Naeher achieved several milestones en route to being the league’s best goalkeeper. She was one of two players on Boston to start all 24 games, and also set two NWSL records. She recorded a league best 106 saves, and also saved six out of the nine penalty shots she faced, which was the most in league history.

“To get to the level she’s achieved,” King said, “you have to have that balance of knowing that you have great potential, but also being hard on herself.”

Kallman said that having a keeper of Naeher’s quality and skill brings a greater level of comfort and reassurance to the back line.

“It definitely gives me a lot of confidence knowing that she’s behind me,” she said. “I still don’t wanna make mistakes or mess up, but I know that she can pull out some big saves and she’s already shown that this season.”

Meanwhile, King couldn’t be happier for her shot-stopping teammate, who’ll get the rare – and well-deserved – opportunity to represent her country on the game’s biggest stage.

“I’m so excited for Alyssa, we all are, the whole team and organization,” King said. “We’re really excited for her to get this kind of experience. Hopefully, it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime experience and she’ll be going to more, but it’s absolutely incredible for her to get to do this.”

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