Ali Riley is a professional female football player (soccer player) who plays for the New Zealand National female team. She has played for 13 teams within the space of 15 years as a right wing-back, forward, and full-back. Fans of the star player often ask how she got the name “Ali” as it is not her birth name. Our best guess is that it’s a nickname from her collegiate career derived from the first three letters of her first name “Ale”.
One could say Ali has had a good run with several honors attached to her name but the 34 years old claims she’s just getting started. She stated her excitement about the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be hosted by New Zealand and Australia.
Here is everything we know about her now. This will soon become stale as she continually pushes new grounds.
Ali Riley is an American by birth
As a New Zealand player, you’re not wrong to assume she’s from New Zealand. Alexandra Lowe Riley was born on the 30th of October 1987 in Los Angeles, California, to parents John Graham Riley, from New Zealand, and Beverly Fong Lowe.
Ali attended high school at St. Matthew’s Parish School in Pacific Palisades, Harvard-Westlake School in North Hollywood, California, and college at Stanford University.
Ali’s collegiate honors
2006 might have been Ali’s freshman year at Stanford Cardinals but she wasn’t a freshman on the pitch. At the end of her first year, her team bagged the All-Pac-10 freshman first team: 2006.
In 2009, Ali’s team earned the TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Season, All-Pacific Region first team, and All-Pac-10 first team.
That same year, Ali was crowned the Pac-10 women’s soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In 2010, she won the Stanford University Pat Strathairn Best Competitive Athlete Award.
Fifth-most capped female player
Ali’s first participation in country-side football was in 2006 representing New Zealand in the U-20 Women’s World Cup finals. The following year, she made her debut representing New Zealand in the FIFA women’s World Cup finals in China.
Ali didn’t score her first international goal until the finals of the OFC Women’s Nation’s Cup which ended with an 11 – 0 victory against Papua New Guinea. The match qualified the team for the 2011 FIFA women’s world cup. Ali and her team have won the OFC Women’s Nations Cup three times (2010, 2014, and 2018).
Since her debut in 2007, Ali has made over 140 appearances for her national team, making her New Zealand’s fifth-most capped female player of all time and representing the Football Ferns at three World Cups and three Olympic Games. Ali was made captain of the football fern in 2017 and her team was recently awarded the IFFHS OFC Woman Team of the Decade, from 2011 to 2020.
Ali Riley has played for some of the biggest clubs
After 6 years with Rosengard with a total of 134 appearances and 4 goals, their contract came to an end. In 2018, Ali took her soccer boots to Chelsea to explore more opportunities. Unfortunately, she didn’t get enough playtime as expected. Ali managed to make six appearances which caused her to pack her boots for Bayern Munich.
2019 to 2020 wasn’t a great year for any Sportsman or sportswoman as the global pandemic took over the field and other public places. Ali barely made three appearances for Bayern before she left for her present club team, Orlando Pride, where she was loaned to her former team, Rosengard.
Ali Riley was shortlisted for the 2016 World XI
Her stats in both national and international games have earned her numerous accolades such as the Nike Junior Women’s Player of the Year 2006, Nike National Women’s Player of the Year 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, Oceania Football Confederation Women’s Player of the Year 2009 and 2010.
To crown her effort so far the global players association FIFPro shortlisted Ali Riley and 54 other players for the 2016 World XI. The list included 15 attackers, 15 midfielders, 20 defenders, and 5 goalkeepers. This was a success for the then 29 years old Ali, as it was her first time. She was shortlisted the second time in 2017.
Image Source: Champions Journal