Mike Harris looked around at the packed red, white and blue-clad crowd that had gathered around him Sunday morning in Satellite Beach, and was impressed.
“They’re not here to see me,” he laughed. “They’re here to support the USA.”
Indeed they were. But in a small town of 10,000, it’s easy to be a celebrity when you’re the father of one of soccer’s most recognizable faces, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.
Bloody Marys and Buds were the order of the day in a cheery watering hole known as the “Whiskey Beach Pub,” where everyone really does know your name. Mike was the one greeting guests, family members and well-wishers as the USA triumphed 2-0 against the Netherlands for its second straight World Cup title.
“It’s all about Ashlyn,” Mike said. “She’s worked hard; she’s done it all. And it is remarkable, especially being from a small town like this.”
Ashlyn was the No. 2 goalkeeper behind Alyssa Naeher, similar to her role in 2015 as the backup to Hope Solo. And although Ashlyn’s services weren’t required this time around, her role was important.
“All 23 players have to be ready,” Mike said, “because you never know. … Hey, it’s not all bad being No. 2 on the best team in the world.”
It’s been quite a career for Ashlyn, who started playing soccer as a 5-year-old, even excelling in boys leagues by the age of 10.
Mike doesn’t recall buying Ashlyn her first soccer soccer ball but does remember “there usually were soccer balls all around the house.”
“When I was in high school (at Satellite), I don’t even remember seeing anything about soccer,” Mike said. “So I’m not sure when it started up, but glad it did as it turned out.”
Ashlyn’s accolades could fill an encyclopedia. Among her achievements:
- Two Women’s World Cup titles (2015 and 2019)
- Two FIFA Under-19 World Cup appearances (one title in 2002 at age 16)
- Three NCAA championships at North Carolina (2006, 2008, 2009)
- Two state high school titles at Satellite High
- Gatorade National High School Player of the Year award
- Four-time Parade magazine high school All-American
- Twice named goalkeeper of the year as a pro (2011 in WPS and 2016 in NWSL)
Ashlyn, 33, has played in seven pro leagues (including Germany and Sweden), weathering shutdowns and name changes (Women’s United Soccer Association, Women’s Professional Soccer, National Women’s Soccer League) in America’s top level of play.
Mom Tammye, of Indian Harbour Beach, played competitive softball in her late teens.
“Ash is just a really good overall athlete, but this is what her passion was,” Mike said.
While Tammye was in France watching Ashlyn, other family members hovered in the Whiskey Beach Pub, including brother Chris Harris; uncle Jimbo Habovick, and cousins, Kyle, Corey (and Brittany Edwards) and Cassidy; and one of Ashlyn’s best friends, Jessica Andre, who was with her in Canada in 2015 to see her play.
Grandparents Curt and Eunice, and Mike’s sister, Tina and her family, were watching from Palm Bay.
Mike offered praise to the late Fidgi Haig, who provided an early influence on Ashlyn as her high school coach.
And it’s the sacrifices, not only from the family’s perspective, but to Ashlyn herself.
“In between seasons, or games, there’s really no off-time,” Mike said. “You have to stay in shape.”
Ashlyn has battled back from a fractured thumb, a broken wrist, tears in both ACLs in both knees, and a torn labrium in her hip and her shoulder.
“Knock on wood, nothing major the last few years,” Mike said.
So, what was the World Cup victory worth?
First, LUNA Bar offered each player a $31,250 bonus just to make the final World Cup roster spot, according to reports. That was designed to make up the difference between the women’s $37,500 set bonus and the men’s total.
There also was another $37,500 bonus for women’s roster players who had qualified to play in the World Cup.
Plus, there were $3,000 bonuses for each qualification win ($15,000 total).
The World Cup winning team divides $4 million (double the total from 2015) from FIFA, the governing body; according to a Guardian analysis, that leaves each player with about a $110,000 bonus (with a maximum of $200,000 each).
And there is a four-city victory tour, including a New York ticker-tape parade, which is worth an extra $60,869 to each player, the Guardian report revealed.
So, at most, US Soccer would pay the women $260,869 each, the Guardian reported.
However, a victory tour could call for players to earn $15,000 a game, a New York Times report shows.
After the parades, the autograph signings and TV appearances, Harris will head home to Satellite Beach, eventually.
First, there are commitments with the Orlando Pride.
There also are wedding plans to teammate and fiancee Ali Krieger, reportedly set for December in the Miami area.
“It’s been a long road,” Mike said. “We’ve been texting back and forth when we can because of the time difference; she says she’s having fun over there.
“But I think they’re all ready to get home.”
Time for the real celebration to begin.