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Christen Press opens up about fourth surgery, ‘recovery-nightmare’

(Harry How/Getty Images)

Christen Press will have a fourth surgery to repair her knee after tearing her ACL last summer, the U.S. women’s national team star revealed on Instagram on Monday.

The 34-year-old Press has not played since 2022, when she suffered the ACL injury in Angel City’s match against Racing Louisville on June 12. This March, she disclosed that she had undergone three surgeries in eight months. In May, she told ESPN’s Futbol Americas that she was in “the final stretch” of her recovery and wasn’t ruling out the possibility of making the USWNT roster for the 2023 World Cup.

“There has never been a moment where I lost hope and that I took my focus off of the World Cup, from the moment that I got injured until now,” she said in May. “It’s the North Star for all of us professional players and it’s a motivation.”

In June, Press returned to the practice field in cleats, but there were no clear updates on her recovery timeline and she remained on the season-ending injury list.

Now, Press is revealing that doctors told her back in February to “let go of” the World Cup dream.

“Until the roster was announced, there wasn’t a day that passed over the last year that I didn’t believe I could be there. Even after three surgeries,” she wrote. “I thought I processed that loss. But, I also decided now to speak that truth into existence. I felt if I shared that with all of you, I’d be manifesting it into reality. So instead, I stayed quietly hopeful.”

Press says she’s given “every ounce of my being” to return to soccer, and while she’s “not anxious” to get back on the field, the forward is also not ready to give up hope.

“My days are mostly good. I’m working toward my goal,” she continued. “And despite the fact that, on paper, this is an athlete’s recovery-nightmare, I feel in my heart that to climb the mountain — yes, even one more time — is the dream.”

Press has been a member of the USWNT since 2012. She’s won two World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019, and she is ninth on the team’s all-time leading scorers list with 64 goals.