Two-time World Cup winner Ashlyn Harris announced her retirement from soccer on Monday, bringing to an end her 13-year professional career.
Harris had been a member of the U.S. women’s national team since 2013, and she featured on the 2015 and 2019 World Cup rosters. She also played in all 10 seasons of the NWSL, including this past year with NJ/NY Gotham FC.
“It has been one of my greatest honors to represent this country. I started this journey with the Federation at the age of 13,” she said in a speech Monday at the Players’ Ball, an event hosted by the USWNT Players Association. “I was a young, troubled kid looking for belonging. And I found that here. In a turbulent time in my life, soccer became home.
“The road became my safe space. And the people became my family. It has been an incredible run. I’m proud of what I accomplished, but more importantly I’m proud of the woman I’ve become.”
Hopefully this works - Ashlyn’s speech in three parts. 1/3 #uswnt pic.twitter.com/EtvpGwL9Sc— Meg Linehan (@itsmeglinehan) November 15, 2022
Hopefully this works - Ashlyn’s speech in three parts. 1/3 #uswnt pic.twitter.com/EtvpGwL9Sc
Harris began her international career in 2002, when she helped the U.S. to the title at the U-19 Women’s World Championship at 16 years old.
“It’s never been about the gold medals, the wins, the losses. The heart of this journey has always been the people,” she continued. “So I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for loving me, and pushing me to heights I never knew were possible. To my lifers in this room, you have been the greatest gift in this journey.”
A two-time NCAA title winner at North Carolina, Harris made her senior national team debut in a 1-1 draw with Sweden at the Algarve Cup in Portugal in 2013.
Of her 25 appearances for the U.S., 21 were starts. She also recorded nine clean sheets and recorded a 17-2-2 record for the USWNT. Her final match for the USWNT was an 8-0 win over Panama in Olympic qualifying in 2020.
“I’m proud of the woman I’ve become, and I can only thank the people who have supported me and lifted me throughout it all,” she said. “Thank you to all my youth national team coaches, full national team coaches, goalkeeper coaches, support staff, and everyone in between.
“To all my teammates, you have been the driving force to my longevity. This journey has always been about the people for me, so thank you for all the incredible memories and life-long friendships. To the fans, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope in some small way I’ve impacted your lives the way you all have impacted mine.”
Harris also took the time to thank her wife, Gotham FC and USWNT defender Ali Krieger.
“I owe everything to this sport, because it led me to you,” said Harris. “I would never be where I am without you.
“So I leave you with this, if I can leave you with anything: never, never, never underestimate the influence you have over people with the platform you’ve been given. Continue to be champions of change. Let’s leave this game better than we found it.”
In her retirement, Harris will join Gotham FC’s front office as global creative advisor, a newly-created position. She’ll work with the club’s marketing team as well as with other creatives and brands to help drive the artistic direction of the team.
“I’m excited for this next phase of my career and to have this special opportunity to continue with Gotham FC in this role,” Harris said. “There is so much we can do as a club to further solidify its presence in this market and transform expectations of what a women’s soccer club can be.”