Kristie Mewis interview: ‘Stung by the Beat: The College Years’
As the returning hometown girl who made it to the top level, a lot has gone to plan so far for Boston Breakers’ Kristie Mewis, but there was one episode of the US Women’s National Team midfielder’s college story she would rather not see again!
The US are currently preparing for two fixtures with China in quick succession, the first of which takes place this Sunday (April 6th) in Colorado. Four days later, the teams meet again, this time in San Diego, and Kristie has been called up to the squad along with her younger sister Samantha.
Following the games, Kristie will link up again with the Boston Breakers ahead of the dawn of the new National Women’s Soccer League season. The Breakers get underway at Seattle Reign on Sunday April 13th and for Kristie, who was born in Hanson, Massachusetts, she is eagerly anticipating a campaign of representing her local team.
The 23-year-old was a notable performer while at Boston College and she joins the Breakers after spending the NWSL’s inaugural season with FC Kansas City. There is a lot to love about being back home but Kristie recalls a day for her a few years ago that was more ‘hometown blues’, with added excruciation for good measure!
“In college, as part of initiation I had to sing in front of my whole team, boys’ soccer team, and some of the football guys, with my headphones on so I couldn’t hear my own voice. It was so embarrassing so I just stared at the ground and got it over with.
“I definitely looked like a weirdo and everyone said I sounded so monotoned.”
Working her way up through the national team age groups, Kristie was named the US Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year in 2008 after catching the eye at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand. During that tournament, Kristie and her sibling Samantha became the first American sisters to play alongside each other at a World Cup.
They did so again at the Under-20 tournament in Germany two years later and there was a terrific moment in the senior team’s game with Sweden at the Algarve Cup last month. The match ended in a 1-0 defeat for the US but in the 68th minute coach Tom Sermanni sent the sisters on to join the action and as they stood on the touchline it gave Kristie a chance to offer some advice and encouragement to Sam who was making her debut.
It made them the first sisters to play for the USWNT together since Lorrie and Ronnie Fair some seventeen years ago, bringing immense pride to their parents Bob and Melissa Mewis. Much is required to make it on the team but there is undoubtedly plenty to enjoy for those who manage it. As so many of the interviews on here have revealed, music is never far away from those in the squad and a lively locker room is pretty much always to be expected.
Midfielder Kristie, who also features at the back, tells how her defensive colleague and a member of the 100-cap club brings more than a touch of fun to proceedings when the team is together.
“Rachel Van Hollebeke loves singing to music whether it’s in the vans on the way to practice or in the locker room. Sometimes she makes up lyrics, which is the hilarious part, but overall she loves it and has a better voice than me!”
Stepping out onto the field together as senior players for their country was the realisation of a childhood dream for the Mewis sisters. Although today’s USWNT includes none of those who featured as the team lifted the World Cup on that unforgettable day in 1999, Kristie has spoken of how much she looks up to the experienced names, particularly striking legend Abby Wambach who she has had the chance to room with.
Each individual has a role to play and every dedicated follower of the team seems to know all about forward Lauren Holiday’s long-standing job as game day mixmaster. The FC Kansas City star has been mentioned frequently by her teammates on here in the last three years and US Soccer have now shared the playlists she and men’s team keeper Nick Rimando have put together on Spotify.
Kristie enjoys the atmosphere created in the run-up to a game and if it is not Lauren Holiday choosing the tracks it is someone who remains one of the closest people in her life.
“Locker room DJ always has to play pump-up songs or something that you can sing along with. When Lauren Holiday isn’t playing the music, it’s usually Sydney (Leroux) but it’s always fun music that everyone can relate to so we can just get ready for the game together and get excited.”
The portmanteau ‘LeMew’ is likely to strike a chord with anyone who is aware of the friendship between Kristie and Sydney Leroux, who was interviewed on here last year. When Kristie scored her first senior international goal in the 4-1 win over Korea Republic last June it was Sydney who supplied the initial cross and she was one of the first to gleefully celebrate with her.
Although still international teammates, they actually swapped places on the domestic front during the off-season. It took plenty of effort but eventually both players got their wish to move closer to home. Sydney moved from the Breakers to Seattle Reign to be near to her family in the Pacific Northwest, while Kristie moved the opposite way having initially been traded to Seattle from FC Kansas City in exchange for Amy Rodriguez.
‘LeMew’ may be divided when it comes to play during the upcoming NWSL season but when asked which of her career teammates she would choose to record a song cover with it was an easy one for Kristie.
“I would obviously choose Sydney Leroux and we would sing ‘Va Va Voom’ by Nicki Minaj because it’s our favourite.”
The aim of the interviews on here has always been to give an alternative insight into the player by bringing in music talk and combining that with discussion about their career and life where relevant. Whether they are affected by music on an incredibly deep level or just someone with a handful of memories related to it, they are all very welcome! Kristie, who loves to shop and visit the beach, admits that she leans much further towards the latter of those two categories.
“I would like to say that music is a big part of my life, but to be honest, the only time I listen to it is either in the car or when I’m working out. I do love music, but it’s not as important to me as some people.
“I respect the people who have a passion for it and really enjoy music, but I’m more of just a casual listener.”
Although you won’t find Kristie writing her own songs or performing vocally for an audience there is one track in particular from an artist who remains an idol to millions that resonates with her.
“’I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ by Whitney Houston has to be one of my favourite songs of all-time. It’s so fun and upbeat – gets me in a good mood!”
A few years after that song, it was time for 90s pop to hit astronomical heights the world over. As a 23-year-old in England, I can say that the three acts Kristie names when thinking back to the first records she had were just as huge over here at the time as they were in the US! I will also admit that all three made it into my collection as a kid (yes, even the third…).
“I was probably 7 or 8 when I got the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync CDs. I loved those groups growing up but who didn’t?!
“Of course Britney Spears was one of my idols too as a little girl.”
Kristie has a degree in Human Development and her coach at Boston College, Alison Foley, speaks very highly of her skills as a role model. Leading while out on the field is an important responsibility and it involves letting people know when they need to step it up. That said, Kristie is not about to turn American Idol judge on her teammates just yet!
“I can’t really say anyone has bad music tastes because we all like what we like, although I heard some horrible voices, but of course I won’t call anyone out on that! I’d get in trouble!”
While the Boston Breakers were a Women’s Professional Soccer team, Kristie scored both goals against them in a game with the US Under-20s. It has taken a little bit of time but she is now on the other side and will bring the experience of a 2nd-place finish in the 2013 regular season with FC Kansas City.
She played 20 times for the Blues, scoring once, and was on the field for the full 120 minutes as they were beaten 3-2 in the semi-final with eventual champions Portland Thorns. She also represented Canberra United at the end of the W-League regular season in 2012/13, netting two goals in two games.
Kristie’s fellow new arrivals at the Breakers include lively and extremely accomplished Australia forward Lisa De Vanna, as well as Canadian midfield star Kaylyn Kyle. The team also have a new boss in Tom Durkin, a former head coach and general manager in the USL Premier Development League with Bradenton Academics.
As mentioned earlier, Kristie got her first international goal in a 4-1 victory over Korea Republic last June. It came in the third minute and what made it even more special as she burst forward to bundle it home was that masses of friends and family had come out to see her at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
That was an incredible experience with over 13,000 in attendance and Kristie can count on loved ones coming out to see her for the Breakers at Harvard Stadium this year. I asked what she enjoys the most about where she comes from.
“There is always something to do in Boston. I love this area because the water is right there with awesome restaurants and bars.
“The North End has amazing food; the shopping areas are not overwhelming; every street looks different and unique. Boston is home for me, and it always will be.”
One of those in the crowd to see her goal for the US was sister Sam and there was tearful joy for her and their parents when Kristie scored. Sam has now been capped twice by the senior team and the 21-year-old midfielder helped UCLA to their first NCAA Championship in December.
Going to college over on the West Coast, Sam has matured a lot in her time away from Kristie and there is the feeling that she has made her way back to her big sister, but as Sydney Leroux describes, the two are now ‘equals’. Kristie and Sam grew up together and now they get to support each other as fellow national team players. They have jokes and make fun of each other like most siblings do but beneath it there is genuine pride at one another’s achievements in soccer and in life.
Kristie highlights what takes up most of her spare time and Sam (who is also familiar with ‘N Sync, by the way) fits into it very strongly.
“Outside of soccer, my family and friends are everything. Spending time with the people I love is the most important thing to me when I’m away from soccer.”
Although she only turned 23 just a few weeks ago, I still wanted to put the site’s regular concluding question to Kristie. Whether it is a player who has bid farewell to their career or one who is still early on in their development, it is interesting to hear responses to this.
The idea here is for the player to put themselves into a 5-a-side team and to choose four of the best they have ever played alongside to join them. Maybe in years to come we will look back on this and Kristie will go with the very same four players! For now, this is the team she has selected and it is fair to say her substitutes’ bench will be full of talent too.
“This is a tough question because I don’t feel the right to choose when everyone I’ve played with is amazing, but here it goes.
“Goalkeeper: Hope Solo – because I’ve never seen anyone make the saves she does. Defender: Becky Sauerbrunn – because her one-v-one defending is one of the best I’ve ever seen.
“Midfielder: Lauren Holiday – because she’s the best at moving and keeping the ball. Forward: Sydney Leroux – because she’s fast, a great finisher, and a hard worker.”
Follow me on Twitter: @chris_brookes
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Breakers fans, midfielder Joanna Lohman will be on here soon. Check out my music/soccer interviews with past and present Boston players below: