New England Soccer Today

Legendary Lilly retires

Kristine Lilly, the most prolific and decorated female player in soccer history, announced her retirement Wednesday afternoon.

After a 24-year career that spanned five Women’s World Cups and a record 352 caps with the U.S. Women’s National Team, the legendary Lilly called it a career.

Legendary midfielder Kristine Lilly announced her retirement on Wednesday. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

“I told myself I would take until the end of the year to make a decision after some time off so I wasn’t just retiring because of the long year and the fact that I was tired,” said Lilly, who will turn 40 this year, via a U.S. Soccer press release.

Surprisingly, Lilly never appeared tired at any point last season, after she played 23 games with the Boston Breakers (earning an All-Star nod as well) in addition to 10 games with the national team. Nor did it appear she was ready to hang up the boots after reporting to Pia Sundhage’s camp in California to get ready for her mind-boggling sixth World Cup.

But, Lilly who was never one to show pain or weakness at any point during her remarkable career, decided it was time to move on after spending the better part of a quarter century playing soccer.

“When I sit here and realize that it’s been 23 or 24 years since I started playing at this level, when I think about those numbers it does seem like a really long journey,” said Lilly.

The Connecticut native also acknowledged the impact that national team, which once boasted stars such as Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, and Brandi Chastain, had on the development of soccer here in the States.

“(T)he best thing is that I’ve had the opportunity in the last five or 10 years to really appreciate the impact we’ve made not only on the field, but off the field with young people as well and I’m really happy I was able to be a part of this for so long.”

Indeed, Lilly, the very definition of a constant on the pitch, was a part of nearly every success ever enjoyed by the Women’s National Team since her career started back in 1987. But after enduring countless punishing tackles and racking up a fortune’s worth of air miles over her illustrious 24-year career, the gritty goalscorer felt it was time to close the book on her playing career.

“I’m just at the point in my life with my family and career where it was the right time,” said Lilly. “I never knew what the right time was going to feel like, but I finally got there.”

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