Former Naperville Central star Casey Krueger turned tremendous two sport success in girls track and soccer into an Olympic dream come true! Learn more in this Where Are They Now? presented by Advantage Acura.
Casey Krueger, or Casey Short as she was known when she roamed the halls of Naperville Central High School, was quite simply one of the greatest athletes the area had ever seen. Her talent was so dynamic that every spring a decision had to be made and the hopes of the track and field and girls soccer teams hung in the balance.
As a freshman in the spring of 2005, Casey played for the soccer team under head coach Ed Watson. However the next year, it was Girls Track and Field coach Mike Stine who reaped the benefits as Krueger decided to run with the track team and play soccer during the club season. The decision paid dividends immediately as she won the state championship in the 800 meters as a sophomore in 2006. The following spring she returned to the track team and became the first in Illinois history to win the 800 and 400 meter state championships in the same season. Despite a historic amount of success, the decision between the two sports was never easy.
A Return to Soccer
Heading into her senior season in 2008, Coach Watson was able to rejoice as Casey decided to return to the soccer pitch for the Redhawks. Krueger earned All-State and All-American honors that season and helped Central win a regional championship before moving on to play collegiately at Florida State University.
Playing in the Pros
After being selected 5th overall in the 2013 NWSL Draft, injuries became an issue for Krueger in her first years out of college. After playing briefly in Boston, Chicago and Norway, she returned home to the Chicago Red Stars at the start of the 2016 season. Now one of the longest tenured Red Stars players, Casey enjoys seeing so many familiar faces from the Naperville area on the roster.
Standouts from rival schools like Vanessa DiBernardo from Waubonsie Valley, Zoey Goralski from Neuqua Valley and Kayla Sharples from Naperville North are now key players in the Red Stars lineup. The list continues if you include the Red Stars reserves with the likes of Nikki Hernandez from Metea Valley, Alyssa Bombacino, Ryan Gaeris, Leah Senese and Piper Biziorek from Neuqua Valley, and Grace Setter from Waubonsie Valley.
During her time in Chicago, Krueger was frequently called upon to play for the U.S. Women’s National Team in various competitions. After being one of the final players left off the 2019 World Cup roster, the chance of a lifetime finally arrived in the summer of 2021. After being named an alternate to the Olympic Team initially, Casey Krueger was added to the official roster in late July.
As the defending World Cup Champions and Olympic Gold Medal winners, there was an intense amount of pressure on the United States. Krueger was thrilled to be a part of a once in a lifetime experience.
After a rocky start, the team regrouped, advancing to the semi finals before falling 1-0 to Canada. But the red, white and blue battled back in the third place game to earn the bronze medal over Australia with a 4-3 victory.
Big Year for Central Stars
It’s the latest in a memorable year for Naperville Central alumni athletes. Former Redhawk Cameron Brate won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay this February. Basketball star Candace Parker returned home to play for the Chicago Sky and was named the first female cover athlete for the NBA2k video game series.
With a successful professional career and now and Olympic medal, the former Naperville Central star still has things she wants to achieve before she hangs up the cleats.
Whether she’s wearing the jersey for Naperville Central, the Red Stars or the United States, Casey Krueger has always given everything she has for her school, her city and her country.
For more prep sports highlights, visit our Naperville Sports Weekly page.
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