On Dec. 28, professional soccer’s best-loved power couple tied the knot. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and defender Ali Krieger, who both play on the Orlando Pride and the U.S. Women’s National Team, got married in Miami about a decade after they started dating. It was a lavish weekendlong party that reunited much of the year’s World Cup–winning USWNT. For fans of the players, it was a gratifying end to a year that saw the athletes glorified for their expressions of solidarity and joy as much as for their performance on the field.
If you, like me, needed to absorb every available dispatch from the union of these two famous queer heartthrobs, Instagram was the place to be on the morning after. Harris is one of the more social media–savvy members of the USWNT—and by savvy, I mean completely un-self-conscious, quick to post a dozen consecutive thirst traps or a too-close, too-loud video of someone (usually herself!) semi-coherently babbling after several beers. Her ecstatic, profanity-strewn reports from the 2019 World Cup victory celebrations were a highlight of the summer.
Since Harris was busy being one of the stars of the show on Saturday, fans had to work a little harder to find documentation of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens reception. But not that hard: There were hashtags to follow (#Krashlyn and #KriegerGotaKeeper), known invitees to stalk (Krieger’s brother, Kyle, is a gay influencer and high-volume Insta poster), and fan accounts that aggregated (stole?) photos and videos from attendees’ pages. Eventually, there was an official video released by the production company the couple hired to film the event. One Instagram account even transcribed the speeches Kyle Krieger and Megan Rapinoe—Harris’ best bud and the World Cup’s MVP—gave at the wedding. Hypothetically speaking, if one were committed enough to do all that digging to experience the nuptials of two people one has never actually met, one would have been rewarded with some truly beautiful images.
There were some gay flourishes, including a rainbow cake and dinner tables named for LGBTQ icons, a hilariously expansive category that included both Marsha P. Johnson—a pioneering activist known for her role in the Stonewall uprising—and Anderson Cooper. There was Krieger in a white suit at the rehearsal dinner and a traditional white gown at the wedding, with huge hair and a gigantic smile. Harris did her glam-butch thing in multiple ensembles by Thom Browne, who dresses her for all her fancy events. (His signature four stripes make it look like she’s always wearing soccer socks, which is fun.) She reprised a couple of silhouettes she’s worn on the red carpet: a sheer white top and pleated skirt for the rehearsal dinner, a black silk tux with a beaded argyle-print overlay for the wedding. Because she loves to party, Harris reduced the size of her wedding suit as the night went on. Her pants turned into shorts (were they tearaway pants or two different garments? the mystery is the best part!), and her double-breasted jacket gave way to a dirtbag-chic sleeveless shirt and vest.
In case the diminishing tuxedo doesn’t fully encapsulate the vibe of the event, I’ll spell it out: Despite all the white rose petals, the flickering candles, and the slow dance to a live acoustic cover of “Stand By Me,” the Krashlyn wedding was not a venue of queer respectability. In one of the best videos of the night, Krieger and Harris arrive at the reception to a cheering crowd of friends and family—their big entrance as a married couple!—and immediately begin to grind on one another. Harris hikes up her shorts so she can squat lower, and Krieger gathers her train in her hand, the better to back her booty up into those shorts. It was hot, and adorable, and something I would rather die than do in front of my parents. Krieger and Harris did it in front of all of us.
Well, kind of. The couple had this wonderful moment of desire and elation in the company of their loved ones. I got to watch it because USWNT defender Crystal Dunn streamed it on Instagram.
I strongly believe that celebrities should feel no compulsion to share their private lives with their fans, and for those of us who love professional women’s soccer in part because of all the queer women who play, it can feel untoward or objectifying to fixate too much on the player’s personal lives. But I am grateful to those gay celebrities like Krieger, Harris, and Rapinoe, who have welcomed the public into parts of their relationships, because there are precious few opportunities to enjoy fashion, love stories, and celebrity culture that reflect queer women’s lives. Historically, in women’s athletics, lesbians have been told to femme it up for the cameras and hide their partners, leaving queer fans confused and disappointed by players who were obviously gay but would never say so. Soccer fans suspected (knew!) that Harris and Krieger were together long before they came out; since then, the pair have talked about how they kept their relationship quiet for fear of losing endorsement deals, career opportunities, and public support.
So for followers of professional women’s soccer, and for queer people enamored by Harris and Krieger’s sweet, generous-seeming partnership, the Krashlyn wedding was more than just a gathering of celebrities to gossip about. (Though, did you see Rapinoe getting spanked by a fellow bridesmaid?!) It was more than an expensive party to drool over, or even a gratifying cap to a year that saw women’s soccer and its star players finally get a modicum of the acclaim they deserve. It was a celebration of queer love thriving in a society and an industry that have long tried to suppress it.
It was also a reminder of why the USWNT won America’s heart during the 2019 World Cup, and why players like Krieger and Harris continue to make obsessives out of fans who feel like they could almost be their friends. Last summer, the players brought their full selves to the championship and their subsequent media tour—they were swaggering, they were humble, they were silly, they talked politics, they demanded equal pay. They reshaped the traditional pageantry of the sports victory tour to suit their own personalities. It was a pleasure to watch Krashlyn do the same with their wedding, remaking a familiar institution in their own image: earnest, extravagant, #sponsored, raucous, a little cheesy, and extremely gay.
Correction, Jan. 8, 2020: This piece originally misstated that Crystal Dunn was a forward with the USWNT. She plays as a defender on the team.