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Canada’s Stephanie Labbé retires from soccer after storied career

(Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé will retire in the spring, following an international friendly with the Canadian national team.

Labbé announced the news on Wednesday in a video posted to social media in conjunction with CBC Sports.

“Soccer showed me my purpose,” she said. “Representing Canada showed me that deep down inside, it wasn’t always about kicking a soccer ball. It wasn’t always about making the position of goalkeeper completely my own or mastering penalty shots.

“In recent months, I have felt both the weight and the lightness of what soccer has given me, and what I have given back. I poured my heart and soul into this sport.

“And now I have found clarity and peacefulness in knowing that I have left everything on the field.”

Nicknamed “Canada’s national minister of defense,” Labbé was a crucial part of Canada’s gold-medal run at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. In the penalty shootout against Sweden in the final, the 35-year-old made two key stops to lift Canada to gold.

“The leadership, performances and confidence we saw from Steph this summer demonstrates the impact she has on Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team,” said Bev Priestman, head coach of the Canadian women’s national team. “I can’t think of a better way to go out after such dedication to the program than with the world class performances we consistently saw from her on the biggest stage possible to win this country a Gold Medal.

“I know Steph is ready to move onto the next phase of her life and on behalf of the team and Canada Soccer would like to thank Steph for her tireless commitment and what she has done for this country, she will be greatly missed.”

Throughout her 14 year senior team career, the goalkeeper earned 85 caps with the national team, recording 44 clean sheets. She has been a member of three FIFA Women’s World Cup teams and also won Olympic bronze in 2016.

While bouncing around the professional ranks, Labbé spent some time in the NWSL with the Washington Spirit and the North Carolina Courage. She won the NWSL Championship with the Courage in 2019.

More recently, Labbé was a member of Paris Saint-Germain. She said she made the decision to retire in late November and left PSG after the winter break.