Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris on Adoption Challenges and Becoming a Mother for the First Time

In February 2021, professional football players and all-around power duo Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris announced to the world that they were taking on all-new roles: becoming a first-time mother to their adopted daughter Sloane Phillips.

The couple, who married in December 2019, said they always knew they wanted to adopt one day. “It was a good idea when COVID hit,” Harris told “We had some time to sit back and think. The Olympics were postponed. We said, ‘You know what? Now’s a good time to do it.’” In just three weeks, they were matched with a biological mother.

But there was one part of their adoption story that they haven’t been willing to share publicly until now. “Every adoption is different and we had some turbulent, challenging moments,” Harris began. She explained that Sloane’s birth mother was homeless, unemployed and had limited access to health care at the time. When Harris and Krieger got in the picture, they said Sloane was underweight and they weren’t sure what her health would be like when she was born. “Luckily, everything was fine,” Krieger told “But many pregnant women don’t have that access.”

The experience inspired them to partner with the nonprofit Vitamin Angels, which is committed to providing 70 million underserved pregnant people, new mothers and babies with essential vitamins and minerals in the US and in 65 countries. Working with local organizations and governments, Vitamin Angels distributes products such as prenatal multivitamins and vitamin A supplements, with the goal of helping people achieve healthy pregnancies and reduce preventable morbidity and mortality associated with micronutrient deficiencies in young children. according to its website. “It’s not a privilege to have these things,” Harris said. “It should be a right.”

As part of their collaboration, this International Women’s Day, the couple will be advocating for equal opportunities for maternal health and sharing educational resources on their respective Instagrams about Vitamin Angels’ work. “In the United States and around the world, prejudice is blocking women’s access to health care, education, resources and opportunities,” Krieger said. “This has long-term implications not only for a woman’s health, but also for the family and the communities they come from.”

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Now, a year after being mothers themselves, the two said it was the “toughest job we’ve ever had”. “Definitely harder than playing in a World Cup every day for the rest of my life,” Krieger said with a laugh. (The lack of sleep, in particular, was a stark reality check, especially for two athletes who rely on sleep for recovery.) But Krieger said Sloane “got the best out of each of us.” share that Harris “is the best mom, really engaging and present.” Harris, for her part, said she learned in the past year that Krieger is “an insane superhero.”

They are still often asked unwittingly about a “father figure” in their family, one of the prejudices the couple says they face as two mothers. “It makes you feel like you are incapable of providing your child with the same things as a ‘normal’, regardless of society. [as] normal, home looks like,” Harris said. “But what we know and rely on is that we create such a loving environment for Sloane every day. She will get to know love in its best form.”

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In their home, that often means singing and dancing (“I feel like we interact and talk like that,” Harris said) and learn to enjoy every moment, while also letting go and accepting help every now and then. “That was hard, because we’re so competitive and so driven to be good at what we do, that we also want to be excellent mothers,” Krieger said. “We’ve grown so much in our relationship and as mothers and as individuals to be the best for her.”

They also take cues from Vitamin Angels’ mission and hold each other accountable to focus on their own nutrition, both playing well on the field and showing Sloane their habits from an early age. “Vitamin Angels isn’t just about having healthy mothers, it’s about preparing your kids for success in their future lives,” Krieger said. “Sloane sucks everything in, and she’s such a sponge — she watches what we eat and drink and how we fuel our bodies.”

In terms of being open about the highs and lows of parenting, they hope to be a source of comfort to anyone going through something similar. “Support in this journey as a mother is really needed,” Krieger said. “If everyone is super honest about who they are and what they are like as mothers, others can breathe because it’s like, okay, someone else is going through that too.”

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