Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment, co-organizers of Times Square New Year’s Eve, today announced that Ali Krieger, Kelley O’Hara, and Midge Purce, three players from the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League Champion (NWSL) NJ/NY Gotham FC will be recognized as the official Special Guests for the 2024 Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration.
As the evening’s esteemed Special Guests, Krieger, O’Hara, and Purce will join the Mayor of the City of New York to push the crystal button on the main stage in the center of Times Square, which signals the lowering of the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball. The moment — viewed by billions across the world — officially begins the 60-second countdown to the New Year.
Krieger is an iconic U.S. Women’s National Team player, who captained Gotham FC to its first NWSL Championship-winning season before her retirement. The two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and Olympian is revered by fans for her work on and off the pitch. She has utilized her spotlight and platform to serve as an advocate for pay equity and in support of the LGBTQ+ community, among several important issues close to her heart.
Gotham FC and USWNT defender O’Hara is a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion, Olympic gold medalist, and two-time NWSL Champion. She was named to the FIFPro World Best XI in 2019 and has been a part of the USWNT’s last seven world championship rosters. The 2023 season, O’Hara’s 13th in professional soccer, celebrated a return to her former club in the New Jersey-New York metropolitan area where she was a fan favorite after previously scoring 15 goals in 75 matches with the club from 2013-2017.
Midge Purce is a Gotham FC and USWNT forward, who was named the MVP of the 2023 NWSL Championship after assisting both goals in the Gotham FC victory. The Harvard graduate serves as the youngest member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers – the University’s second highest elected governing board. She is a founding member of the Black Women’s Player Collective and helped negotiate the historic collective bargaining agreement that accomplished equal pay for women in sport.
The Special Guest designation is an annual tradition for Times Square New Year’s Eve that dates to the mid-1990s. Each year since, by selecting a Special Guest, the event honors an inspiring individual/s who represents the human spirit, resiliency, and public service.
Previous Special Guests
Past Special Guests have included former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, former UN Secretary General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, Muhammad Ali, Lady Gaga, Christopher Reeve, Medal of Honor winner Salvatore Giunta, #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, the Committee to Protect Journalists, with representatives including ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, CBS News’ Vladimir Duthiers, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, and NBC News’ Lester Holt, among others; teachers and students addressing climate change; the Heroes of 2020, including first responders, frontline workers, researchers, artists, teachers, and activists; and most recently Broadway actors from Aladdin, CHICAGO, and The Phantom of the Opera to represent the return of the performing arts community.
“As we bring 2023 to a close, we are excited to welcome the city’s newest champion – NJ/NY Gotham FC – to our global celebration,” said Tom Harris, President of the Times Square Alliance. “There is no better place and no bigger party to celebrate NJ/NY Gotham FC than Times Square New Year’s Eve.”
“We are proud to honor NJ/NY Gotham FC and the club’s first NWSL Championship win,” said Jeff Straus, President of Countdown Entertainment. “The team serves as an inspiration for hard work and perseverance and their positivity and energy will carry with us into 2024.”
For 119 years, Times Square has been the center of worldwide attention on New Year’s Eve, ever since the owners of One Times Square began in 1904 to conduct rooftop celebrations to greet the New Year. The first Ball Lowering celebration occurred in 1907, and this tradition is now a universal symbol of welcoming the New Year.