USWNT goalie Aubrey Kingsbury sustained by God's grace at first World Cup

Washington Spirit and U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury was on the golf course when she found out she was headed to the 2023 Women’s World Cup. She knew a call from head coach Vlatko Andonovski was coming at some point that day, and she wanted to keep herself busy until it did.

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Kingsbury said during a recent appearance on the Sports Spectrum Podcast that she sat out the next few holes so she could tell friends and family the news.

“So many people had been praying for me and were also anxiously waiting. … So much had been building up to that day and that moment,” Kingsbury said on the podcast. “I’ve had my sights set on the World Cup roster for years, honestly. I knew I was capable of it, and I knew that I have a lot to offer this team.”

A two-time National Women’s Soccer League Goalkeeper of the Year and 2021 NWSL champion, Kingbury is one of three goalies in the U.S. squad. She received her first national team call-up in 2019 and made her only appearance against Uzbekistan on April 12, 2022. Kingsbury was also part of the squad that qualified the U.S. for the World Cup by winning last summer’s CONCACAF W Championship.

The U.S. faces Portugal in its final group stage game Tuesday at 3 a.m. ET. A win or draw would secure the U.S. a spot in the knockout stage. The U.S. is seeking to become the first team ever — men’s or women’s — to win three consecutive World Cups.

Alyssa Naeher has been the only American goalie to see action in the team’s first first two World Cup games, and with 90-plus career international appearances, Naeher is likely to continue being the one in net throughout the tournament.

For Kingsbury, whether she sees playing time in the World Cup or not, the 31-year-old knows she is defined by her faith in Christ. She grew up in a Christian home and went to church every week. Over time, she developed a personal relationship with God and found peace knowing she is not defined by what she does on the field.

“The Lord is calling us to a life of freedom and joy, and I was missing out on that by thinking I already had it through what the world tells you matters,” she told Sports Spectrum in 2019. “Once I learned that it’s not about my performance and I could rest in Christ’s performance on the cross, it just opened my eyes.”

This past December, Kingsbury put her faith into action by taking a trip organized by Compassion International to Tanzania with her husband. Compassion is a child sponsorship and Christian humanitarian aid organization working to improve the long-term development of children living in poverty around the world.

Kingsbury got to meet Rose, a child she sponsors through Compassion, on the trip. She picked Rose because Rose’s birthday is also Kingsbury’s anniversary (Dec. 11), and they were able to spend the special day together.

“She was just full of joy,” Kingsbury said on the podcast while discussing her work with Compassion. “She had this beautiful pink dress that her Compassion center had used our birthday gift that we’d given her to buy for her in advance of meeting us. We had a great day just playing together.”

Kingsbury is also partnering with Compassion to promote the One Girl Can Change Her World campaign during the World Cup, which is taking place in Australia and New Zealand and runs through Aug. 20.

Amid all the stress and pressure that a World Cup year brings, Kingsbury has stayed focused on loving others and being faithful to whatever God had in store for her.

“I would say my prayer kind of this whole year has just been, ‘Lord, help me cast my desires and wishes aside and just take up what You have for me,'” she said on the podcast. “Just kind of a daily humbling of myself and submitting to His plan and trying to see my teammates through His eyes, and love and serve those around me regardless of what role I have.”

Every step of the way, Kingsbury has seen God provide her with whatever she needed to endure.

“I’ve just seen Him daily sustain me and give me new grace and mercy every day to just be equipped with for that moment. … The Lord’s really just shown me how to trust and lean into Him deeper and deeper,” she said on the podcast.

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