In 2008, Samantha and Kristie Mewis played together in a global tournament for the first time at the under-17 World Cup. In 2010, they played together at the under-20 World Cup.
Eleven years later, we’re one day away from finding out whether they’re going to their first senior-level tournament together. And, for the moment, so are they. U.S. Soccer said Tuesday that the final Olympic roster will be revealed on Wednesday.
Sam, 28, has been a lock for the Olympics since seizing a starting midfield spot two years ago. (Though she will insist, as she did to The Inquirer in April, that she believes she’s fighting for a roster spot just like everyone else.)
Kristie, 30, has had a much harder journey. She suffered a string of major injuries starting in 2014 and didn’t regain her old form until 2019.
At the end of that year, she finally got back to the U.S. national team. Last summer, she helped the Houston Dash win their first trophy at the Challenge Cup. In November, she earned her first cap in six years in the Americans’ friendly win at the Netherlands — and scored her second senior national team goal 2,722 days after her first.
Kristie knows that the U.S. depth chart is at its most stacked in midfield. Along with her and her sister, there’s Rose Lavelle, Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, a dynamic newcomer in Catarina Macario, and Ertz’s heir apparent, Andi Sullivan.
Oh, and the Olympic roster is impossibly small: just 18 players, plus four alternates who travel and practice on standby in case of an injury.
‘It’s 100% been very stressful’
Kristie probably isn’t going to make the 18. But she has pretty good odds of being an alternate, which would get her on the plane for the experience of a lifetime.
“I feel like I did everything that I can, and I’m just hoping for the best,” she told The Inquirer in a joint interview with her sister Tuesday night. “But I feel like I’m in a good spot, and I’m confident. And it’s 100% been very stressful, but it’s also been amazing having my sister with me because she’s obviously been there before, and she’s such an inspiration, and I look up to her so much.”
After last Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Nigeria in the last game before the roster is set, U.S. captain Becky Sauerbrunn observed that the camp around the Americans’ set of June games was more tense than usual. That was no surprise since it was the last chance for players to make their cases.
The Mewis sisters observed the same.
“Everyone is in their own head because they all want to be on the roster,” Kristie said.
“It’s a high-intensity environment, and that’s part of the reason why the team has been successful in the past,” Sam said. “Everybody’s just trying to, of course, perform as best they can, but also we’re aware that the deeper little things are going to matter.”
And they could all hear the clock ticking. Tuesday marked one month to the Americans’ Olympic opener against old rival Sweden in Tokyo.
“I feel like it felt really far away for a while, and then suddenly it felt close,” Sam said.
The sisters have been busy off the field, too. Sam moved back to the U.S. from Manchester City in May and has resettled with her old NWSL team, the North Carolina Courage.
“I had an awesome experience at Man City,” she said. “I really genuinely, honestly, feel like I got so much out of it, and I’m so grateful that I got to go there during such a crazy time in the world and make great friends [and] grow as a player. So it was awesome, but being back has been equally awesome. I love the Courage so much, so it’s kind of felt like coming home.”
Away from soccer, Sam and Kristie have teamed up on a collaboration that seems natural for soccer fans: a beer in their honor produced by Harpoon Brewery in Boston, near their hometown of Weymouth, Mass.
They were pretty involved in the design process, but the pandemic made it tricky to get to the brewery to taste samples. So friends and relatives in the Boston area did the honors, including their parents and Sam’s husband.
Also drafted was a longtime friend and former teammate, Wharton alum Stephanie McCaffrey, to help write the promotional text on the can.
(If you remember when McCaffrey was featured in The Inquirer two years ago as a Wharton MBA student, you might have noticed the word “alum” above. She graduated this spring and got a job at Goldman Sachs.)
The beer, a citrus IPA, has a sensible name: “Mew-S-A.” And it has a good cause, with some proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, Mass.
The name brought up a popular parlor game among American soccer fans: debating the plural of Mewis. Some have gone with the grammatically correct Mewises, some with Mewii, some with Mewes, and others with the nickname MewTwo.
The Inquirer asked the official sources.
“I think we decided on the Mewies,” Sam said, and Kristie concurred.
With that on the record, it was time to get back to the serious work of getting ready for Tokyo. The roster will be named Wednesday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Camp will start a few days later, and there will be warmup games against Mexico in East Hartford, Conn., on July 1 and 5. Then it will be off to Japan, where the Americans will try to become the first reigning World Cup champion to win gold at the following Olympics.
“We’re obviously excited about the opportunity,” Sam said. “We know that anything could happen, and we both just want to help the team in whatever way we’re needed. So we are trying to focus on what we can control right now, and we’ll wait and see.”