(Photo by Howard Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

North Carolina Courage and USWNT star forward Amy Rodriguez announced her retirement from professional soccer on Friday, bringing to an end a 16-year career. Rodriguez will return to USC, where she won a national championship in 2007 as a player, as an assistant coach.

The 34-year-old has spent 11 years in the professional ranks, which included stints in the WPSL, the WPS and the NWSL.

A two-time NWSL champion (2014, 2015) with FC Kansas City, Rodriguez joined the Courage in July following a trade with the Kansas City Current. She made 15 appearances for North Carolina, tallying three goals through 987 minutes of playing time.

“Amy contacted the club earlier this week to let us know of her retirement as a result of this incredible new coaching opportunity,” said Courage head coach Sean Nahas. “It was clear this was a very sudden and difficult decision for her, but ultimately what was best for her family and career. She has given so much to this game, it’s been her life and the decision to walk away was one that she hadn’t planned on happening this soon. I fully support her and this decision as for years, decades she has committed to her clubs and teams. She has always been fully invested in her craft. Now she gets to take care of her other team…the most important team, her family.”

Rodriguez also dominated the international stage, joining the USWNT in 2005 and making 132 appearances over 13 years. She has scored 30 goals, adding 19 assists, and won two Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012). Additionally, Rodriguez was a member of the 2015 World Cup winning squad.

The first USC alum to be named a full-time assistant since Isabelle Harvey in 2005, Rodriguez will join newly hired head coach Jane Alukonis in Los Angeles.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have Amy on the coaching staff,” said Alukonis. “Amy has won titles everywhere she has been — as a player at USC, with the USWNT at the Olympics and a World Cup, and in the NWSL. Needless to say, she is a champion! I know Amy will bring her expertise and give every bit of her heart and soul to the program. I can’t wait to see her push the players to their max on a daily basis. She is the perfect coach and mentor to help USC players achieve their big dreams.”

“I want to thank USC for providing me with the opportunity to come home,” said Rodriguez. “Choosing to retire was an incredibly difficult decision for me. However, continuing to give back to the game was always a priority of mine and there is no better place for me to do that than here at USC. This university has given me so much and now it is my time to give back.

“I am excited to start working with Jane and figuring out how I can complement her coaching style to create the best USC women’s soccer team possible. I plan to roll up my sleeves and get right to work. Bringing another national championship to USC is my ultimate goal!”