February 21, 2016
FROM SPECTATOR TO PARTICIPANT
Meghan Klingenberg has her reasons on going to Rio
By Michael Lewis
HOUSTON, Texas -- When the United States players were awarded the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, defender Meghan Klingenberg certainly had mixed emotions.
That's because the 27-year-old left back was an alternate on the team four years ago.
So earning an opportunity to play for a medal and possibly a gold is vital, even for someone who is going off winning the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup crown. The USA booked its ticket to the Summer Games Friday night with a 5-0 semifinal win over Trinidad & Tobago.
"So seeing my team do so well and win when I'm, sitting up in the stands looking down as they're getting a medal is a really difficult thing to do," Klingenberg said Saturday at a press conference previewing the U.S.-Canada final of the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship at BBVA Compass Stadium Sunday.
"I was incredibly proud and happy for them, but that's something I wanted. So this summer, i want to make sure I'm on the team and make sure I'm on that field vying for that medal. I think that's important for me and something that will be real fun."
The Americans have defined the Olympic women's soccer tournament since it began in 1996 as they have reached the final of the five previous competitions. They have won four gold medals -- 1996, 2004, 2008 and 2012 -- and one silver (2000).
Americans who are not familiar with the Women’s World Cup might think the Olympics would be the highest level of achievement for women’s soccer, Klingenberg said.
"It's so interesting because I think the American population thinks it is probably the pinnacle of any sport. and as we think, usually the World Cup is the pinnacle of women's soccer,” she remarked.
"But regardless of what you think, it's a competitive tournament with world class teams in and it's something that we want to win because we want to be the best in the world."