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USA’s Long cherishes successful 2017, but eager for more
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Portland Thorns FC & USA star Allie Long (white jersey) enjoyed a memorable 2017 season. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)

MASSAPEQUA, New York -- A banner 2017 got even better for Allie Long in December.

A member of the United States women’s national team since 2010, the 30-year-old celebrated a second NWSL championship with Portland Thorns FC in October and followed it up by earning a spot the on the CONCACAF Female Best XI.

“I’m so thankful and extremely honored to be named one of the Best XI,” Long told CONCACAF.com. “There are so many great athletes. It’s just a great honor.”

Long was joined in the CONCACAF side by Thorns teammates goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, defender Emily Menges and midfielder Lindsey Horan, who scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL final.

“That was such a huge moment,” said Long about the domestic league triumph. “It’s extremely hard to get back to the finals every single year, so I’m grateful to win two championships and hopefully we can win a third next year.”

Long acknowledged the raw emotion she feels from the Thorns fans, who pack Providence Park on a weekly basis. They came out in droves to vote for Long for CONCACAF’s Female Best XI with support also coming from Portland Trail Blazers basketball star Damian Lillard, who encouraged his 1.46 million followers to also vote for her.

“I saw his tweet and I know there’s a lot of Portland love there, so thank you so much and everyone who supported me, had my back for everything, through everything and believed in me,” Long expressed. “You guys are awesome and its inspiring.”

Another 2017 highlight for Long was the United States’ dramatic 4-3 win over Brazil in San Diego in the Tournament of Champions. The Americans trailed 3-1 in the final 10 minutes, before Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz struck late.

“It was such an incredible feeling and such a team moment,” commented Long said. “To feel that with everyone on the field was just awesome. That’s what USA is all about.”

The 33-time capped Long had a lot to be thankful for in 2017 and a lot to look forward to in the year ahead. That includes a new NWSL season and the CONCACAF Women’s Championship with berths in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup at stake.

While Long is humbled to reach such rarified levels of success, she isn’t satisfied -- not by a long shot.

“I want to be the best player I possibly can be,” finished the New York native. “I want to be the best player in my position in the world. That doesn’t come easy and it’s going to take every single day putting in the work, putting in the dedication and being committed. That’s not going to stop.”

 
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