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Now That COVID-19 Postponed The Olympics, Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher Says There's 'No Playbook'

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Noah Salzman
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Creative Commons
Stratford's Alyssa Naeher had been preparing for her first Olympic Games as a starter for the U.S. women's national team, but they were postponed due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Besides the occasional outdoor run or a trip to get groceries, Team USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher is hunkering down like the rest of us. Unlike the rest of us, the coronavirus pandemic means she’s forgoing a trip to the Olympics this summer.

“[I] have had to turn my bike into a stationary bike with a little stand so I could do most things I need to from inside my apartment,” said Naeher, who was born in Bridgeport but calls Stratford her hometown.

The 2020 Summer Olympics have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Naeher was going to be the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. women’s soccer team during the Games, her first Olympics as a starter.

“It’s disappointing,” Naeher said. “This is something that we as athletes have trained for our whole lives and prepared for this.”

The silver lining for Naeher is that the Games were postponed to 2021 -- and not canceled.

Her perspective extends past soccer, though.

“Fortunately for me right now, I’m healthy. My family is healthy,” Naeher said. “You look around and people are losing their lives,” she said. “People are losing their jobs.”

The way Naeher puts it, these are uncertain times for a people who haven’t experienced something like this, so “there’s no playbook” for how to deal with it. Naeher said many of her family members are teachers, and they are having to adjust to life away from the classroom in order to keep working.

“My whole family right now is figuring out how to teach their students and connect with their students online, which is a whole new challenge,” Naeher said.

Although it may seem like forever since Naeher and her U.S. teammates hoisted the World Cup, it was just eight months ago -- her first World Cup as a starter on the team.

Now there’s no soccer. She also was preparing to be in net for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League.

The next game for Naeher is scheduled for April 18 -- Chicago’s season opener. But the league already canceled preseason, so who knows about the regular season.

All Naeher said she can do is prepare for whatever’s next.

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