Watch just one Portland Thorn’s game and I guarantee you’ll witness Allie Long fling her hand up in the air in disagreement with the referee and vehemently scream at a teammate for not passing her the ball.
As her teammates, we expect and embrace this passionate display. It’s the Allie Long who is equally hard on her teammates as she is on herself. It’s the Allie Long who wants to win so bad, she’ll do whatever means necessary. It’s the Allie Long who shows up big time in the clutch.
As with most soccer-enthused young girls, Allie dreamt of playing in the World Cup for the U.S National team. When she received her first call-up at 22, Allie appeared on track to achieve her aspirations. But in her first training session, she suffered an MCL injury.
Experiencing that elite environment, even for such a short stint, solidified Allie’s desire to play at the highest level. She couldn’t see herself doing anything else and was willing to do everything in her power to get back into camp.
Year after year passed, and Allie had yet to receive another call back. Until last year, at age 26, when Allie came off her second consecutive stellar season with the Thorns.
With the World Cup just around the corner, Allie’s dedication and perseverance seemed to be paying off. Yet, when the final roster was selected, Allie was left off the list.
After a long, heartbreaking plane ride home, Allie knew she couldn’t let this define her. She was still the same Allie Long; relentless, passionate, driven, with the ultimate dream of representing her country on the world stage.
Allie knew that there’s nothing else she’d rather be doing and she exited the plane even hungrier than before.
Allie is an NCAA National champion, an NSWL champion and the Portland Thorns all-time points (goals and assists) leader. A highly accomplished career, but incomplete for her standards. Allie doesn’t care how long it takes, as long as her body can handle it, she’s committed to turning her dreams of playing in a World Cup and Olympics into a reality.
Allie is an Arrow Liver.
UPDATE: Allie was selected to represent the US women’s national team in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Allie is an Olympian. Perserverance pays off.
Hometown: Northport, New York
Profession: Professional soccer player
Years playing: 21 (6 professionally)
What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?
I woke up at 5:30 the trucks were making noise and I thought leave me alone.
What is your morning routine?
I wake up and have some breakfast. Oatmeal is my go-to. Starbucks is underneath my apartment so I always go there. Then, I walk to practice and listen to my music. That’s when I get in my zone.
What did you love most about where you grew up?
That water surrounded me. I loved being so close to the beach.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I really like J.K Rowlings commencement speech at Harvard on the importance of failure. She talks about how she needed to fail in order to succeed. I agree. You learn more from your failures than your successes.
When I didn’t make the World Cup team, Harry (her nickname for Tobin Heath) sent me a letter that said “It aint over, it’s just the beginning.” It meant a lot and made me realize I can become even stronger from this setback.
Who is your definition of successful?
Anyone who sets a goal and goes through anything to achieve it, no matter what it is in life. Someone like Kobe.
Why do you do what you do?
It’s my passion. I just love soccer and the process of becoming a better player. It keeps me focused and always wanting more. I know I have to be patient because achieving your goals sometimes takes longer than anticipated.
Is this where you thought you’d end up?
Yes. It’s my only goal to do what i’m doing and hopefully make the U.S national team.
How are you different than the average?
I’m never okay with average. I don’t want to be just a professional soccer player. I want to reach my full potential, inspire people, and be a role model.
What habit contributes the most to your success?
I always put myself in uncomfortable situations. In training, I try to do every drill as fast as I can so that in a game, its slower for me. Sometimes in practice, I catch myself and say “Dang that wasn’t as fast as I can”. I am hard on myself because I know my potential.
How do you spend your free time?
With Harry and Alex [Morgan]. I like to relax. I love the beach. I like to swim. I love watching soccer and seeing the best of the best play. I also like to read and trying to learn Spanish.
What has been your biggest “failure”? How have you overcome this setback?
Not making the World Cup team. I cried the whole flight home. I realized that all I can do is learn from what happened and set my next goal, which is the Olympics. I just have to keep getting better and striving for the next level.
What has been your most rewarding accomplishment?
My first cap (appearance) with the National team. Stepping on the field for USA was really special. Winning a National Championship at University of North Carolina was also up there.
What do you wish you knew as a kid?
I wish I trained more. If I trained, it was usually with my mom. I would have liked to have more friends to train with who liked soccer as much as I did. I wish I matured quicker and knew that doing extra would help further me on in my career.
What is one moment that makes you laugh every time you think about?
When I was 7, I was climbing over a high fence and slipped, but my shorts hooked onto the fence, fell down to my ankles, and caught my fall. So I was stuck, dangling headfirst from the fence in my underwear. I was so embarrassed at the time, but my mom couldn’t stop laughing. I saved the shorts after because I thought they were lucky and saved my life.
What’s your dream meal?
Chips and guacamole. I could eat chips and guac all day.
Who are three people you’d ask to dine with you?
Kobe, Iniesta, Muhammad Ali.
If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be?
Messi. I want to be in his brain when he plays.
If you could only keep five possessions what would they be?
My engagement ring, The bible Harry gave me, my iPad, chapstick, my cellphone
What skill would you like to learn?
I’d like to be fluent in Spanish
If you weren’t playing soccer, what would you want to do with your life?
I’d like to be an ESPN anchor.
What is your favorite mobile app?
FOR MORE ON ALLIE LONG: Allie Long and her Resting Itch Face