Career resurgence brings Kristie Mewis back to Japan, this time with USWNT
Skylar Rolstad
4 Mnths Ago
The first major international tournament of Kristie Mewis' career is an eye-opening experience, but the Houston Dash midfielder is not exactly a stranger to her surroundings at the Tokyo Olympics.
A return to Japan as the USWNT began pre-Olympic camp in Tokyo brought back memories from Mewis' time playing club soccer in Japan for the Nadeshiko League's Iga FC Kunoichi in 2014.
"My experience here in Japan was so special and I feel like I learned so much when I was here, soccer and lifestyle," Mewis said. "I made so many good friends. The people here are just so nice. I really feel like I took away a lot and it's so good to be back."
Mewis played for the Japanese club during the NWSL offseason back in 2014, at which point she played for the Boston Breakers. She made seven appearances for Iga FC and scored five goals.
Iga FC Kunoichi is located in the Tokai region of Japan, halfway between Nagoya and Osaka and more than 250 miles from Tokyo. Kunoichi, the team's nickname, translates to "the Ninjas."
"It's obviously so special to be here," Mewis said. "And it's just super exciting to be here with my sister and to be at a major tournament. This is obviously a dream come true for me and I'm just trying to soak in everything that I can and live every day the best way I can and practice the best way I can."
After moving on from Japan, Mewis played on loan with Bayern Munich. She returned stateside in 2017 to continue in NWSL with the Washington Spirit and later the Chicago Red Stars.
Mewis was one of the 18 players initially named the USWNT Olympic roster after an inspiring career revival that saw her help lead the Houston Dash to an NWSL Challenge Cup title last summer, and earn a return to the USWNT fold after a five-year absence.
Since breaking back in with the USWNT, Mewis has quickly re-established herself as a productive midfield option, and while the competition for starting places in the U.S. midfield is fierce -- and includes Kristie's sister Sam Mewis -- Kristie Mewis is expected to play a good part in the USWNT's chase for its first Olympic title since 2012.
The USWNT has finished its preparation in friendlies for the 2020 Olympics, and will kick off its quest for the gold medal on July 21 against Sweden.
"Everyone's kind of on the same page," Mewis said. "We're all just so honed in and ready to get started. We're all a bit antsy. Our competitive sides are coming out and we're just getting really into it at training. It's so good and it just shows how ready we are for the tournament."
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