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Then in January, after surgery repaired her broken leg, Krieger started having difficulty breathing. Her boyfriend at the time insisted that she go to the hospital, where doctors discovered blood clots in her lungs that were causing her to experience a series of mini heart attacks. Without the blood-thinning medication she was given that night, Krieger may not have survived.

Entering the following season, coach Paula Wilkins asked Krieger to switch from midfield to defense. She responded to the switch (and her life-threatening condition in the offseason) by winning the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award and becoming the only Nittany Lion to be named an All-American at two different positions.

In a way, the broken leg made Krieger — and her teammates — stronger.

“Obviously she’s a really good player, but I think the one thing is that she’s truly a good person,” said Wilkins, who now coaches at Wisconsin. “It’s a terrible thing to say, but I don’t know if we would’ve been successful at the NCAAs if she hadn’t gotten hurt. Does that make sense? The kids were so inspired by her.”

Perhaps Krieger will be able to have the same effect on the United States national team as it prepares for its opening Olympic match against France on July 25. She plans on cheering for the team from her apartment in Germany, though she may make the trip to London if a potential broadcasting deal goes through.

“There’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to win,” Krieger said.

In the meantime, the former World Cup star is focused on returning to form in time for FFC Frankfurt’s opening match Sept. 2. The Olympic dream will have to wait.