Making the Case: Why Alyssa Naeher is the Best Keeper in USWNT History

    Alyssa Naeher is having her moment, there’s no denying that. It’s no secret that the USWNT has seen plenty of solid keepers in the past. Briana Scurry from the 90s and Hope Solo from the 2000s and 2010s are absolute legends, but Naeher’s trajectory has her rising above even them. Naeher has always been solid on the line, but lately, her game has taken on a new life. 


    Penalty Shootout Abilities

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    It’s easy to make the game all about goal scoring, and while Scurry and Solo made it about goal saving, Naeher is managing to do both. In the last two major tournaments, Naeher has performed brilliantly in the net during PKs–the most high-pressure situation for a keeper–and converted points of her own.

    We will never forget that heartbreaker of a Swedish kick-off in the 2023 World Cup or her incredible performance in the 2020 Olympics. She has come up against some of the best goal-scorers the world has ever seen and shut them down.



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    If we look just at accolades and score sheets, you might find that Scurry and Solo are still above Naeher, but there’s one vital thing to consider: time. Scurry was in the net from 1994 until 2008 when Solo took up the mantle. Both keepers earned their own Olympic and World Cup medals in that time, but Naeher has only been the number one goalie for the U.S. since 2016, after their Olympic loss.

    Since then, Naeher has racked up clean sheets, Golden Gloves, Best Keeper awards, and medals. And this isn’t even considering the fact that COVID completely disrupted some of the biggest tournaments in the world. 


    A New Kind of Keeper

    It’s also important to take into account the evolution of the game since Solo and Scurry. As we saw in this last World Cup, the rest of the world is starting to catch up to the USWNT’s program. The forwards are faster and stronger, the tactics are smarter, and the game is just at a higher pace than in the last three decades.

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    There’s a lot more demand on keepers than there ever has been before and Naeher is the model for that kind of keeper. She is smart and strong, she can read the play from any point on the field, and she’s not afraid to come off her line and get physical. Naeher is a calming force from the backline, level-headed but still powerful. There’s no one better under pressure and no one more trusted in a crisis.

    In the scope of a keeper’s career, Naeher is just getting started, and we are in great hands. In Naeher, we trust!





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