Kristie Mewis during an international friendly against Russia in 2014. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
It seems the history of the U.S. women’s national team is filled with storybook tales.
The latest one was written by Kristie Mewis, who hadn’t played for her country in six years and hadn’t scored since 2013.
So, you probably know where we’re headed.
Yep, Mewis not only score the second goal of the U.S. women’s national team’s 2-0 victory over the Netherlands Friday, but she also accomplished the feat only 10 minutes after replacing Rose Lavelle in the 60th minute.
“It’s a very surreal moment for me, it kind of hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Mewis said.
It’s been a long road back for Mewis to the USWNT team. She made her international debut at the age of 22 in 2013 and represented the USA with 15 appearances through 2014.
Mewis’ second international goal came 2,722 days after her first in June 2013, the longest span between goals in USWNT history.
Injuries slowed down Mewis. And, it didn’t help that she tried to get back to the most competitive women’s national in the world. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski brought her into a camp at the end of 2019 and then for another one in October before the Dutch match.
Mewis watched her sister Sam join the team and become a force for the USWNT, especially during the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Mewis was no surprise to Andonovski, who selected Mewis as the third overall pick of the 2013 National Women’s Soccer League college draft when he coached FC Kansas City.
“Obviously very happy for her to see her, going through some adversity and coming back to this team and taking full advantage of the opportunity,” he said. “She was very good in camp, trained very, very well, and deserved to be on the field today. The fact that she did as good as she did just makes me very happy and proud of her.”
When she stood on the sidelines ready to replace Lavelle, Mewis said that she “felt oddly comfortable. I was definitely a little bit nervous, but I did feel comfortable.”
“I mean, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face like I was trying to be so serious, but I couldn’t,” she added. “I just saw Sam and she was smiling at me. … I’ve been training with the other players, so I did feel a sense of comfort. It was great. I don’t think I got my first touch for a couple minutes there, so I was kind of eager to get my first touch. But overall, it was great. I’m obviously so proud and so happy that I was able to get another cap with this team.”
Asked what Andonovski told her, Mewis replied, “I don’t really think he had any like special words, but he definitely just has this look that he gives you. He did warn me earlier in the week that I could potentially play. I have a lot of history with Vlakto so like I think we know each other pretty well. I think he kind of just like gave me a look like you can do this. That’s all I really needed. He gave me a couple words of advice I want to say can’t really tell you what he said because I probably wasn’t listening, because I was so nervous.”
Ten minutes later, Mewis got another reason to be happy with her first international goal in six years and second overall.
Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher started the scoring sequence with a long punt into the midfield. A teammate flicked the ball to Lynn Williams, who sent lead pass to Mewis. The Houston Dash player raced into the box and drilled an eight-yard shot home for a two-goal advantage.
Mewis admitted she did not remember how she scored the goal.
“I just had to re-watch it actually because I think I blacked out like on what actually happened,” she said. “It worked out great. I mean Alyssa kicked a nice long ball and then we got a flick and I think it was Alex [Morgan] got to touch and I just obviously decided to run through. I was so nervous to shoot it, but I just wound up and gave it the best I could.”
Sister Sam was among the first teammates who ran turned her sister to celebrate the goal.
“Just super proud of the team and the way that we performed. I think we obviously have a little bit of growing to do but, I mean, it’s been a long year so we’re, we’re definitely very happy with the win and the shutout,” Kristie said.