Three-time pro champion Becky Edwards to retire

The Equalizer Staff September 22, 2016 47
Becky Edwards will retire following the 2016 NWSL season. She has won three professional-league titles in the United States. (Photo: Orlando Pride)

Becky Edwards will retire following the 2016 NWSL season. She has won three professional-league titles in the United States. (Photo: Orlando Pride)

Orlando Pride midfielder Becky Edwards announced on Thursday that she will retire following Saturday’s season-finale against FC Kansas City.

Edwards won three professional-league championships in her six seasons as a pro in the United States. She also captained the U.S. to the 2008 U-20 Women’s World Cup title alongside the likes of Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux, but Edwards, now 28, never got her chance at the senior international level.

[MORE: Veteran Seattle Reign midfielder Keelin Winters to retire]

She was due for a call-up by then U.S. head coach Tom Sermanni — now her coach in Orlando — in the summer of 2013, but she tore her ACL prior to the call-up and played only 10 matches that season for the Portland Thorns, who went on to win the inaugural NWSL Championship. Edwards, a dominant but understated midfielder, also won WPS titles with FC Gold Pride as a rookie in 2010 and with the Western New York Flash in 2011.

“It’s been seven years playing professionally and, in my heart, it feels right” Edwards said. “I’ve had a good career and I think I’ve given it my all in every environment I’ve been in. For me, personally, it feels like it’s time for something else. I feel satisfied. I’ve played with some of the best players in the world; I’ve won championships. It just feels like it’s time. Being here in Orlando has been incredible; the organization has been awesome. Now, I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”

[GORDON: Orlando’s Jasmyne Spencer has had a roller coaster of a career]

Edwards has played in 15 games for the expansion Pride this year, starting nine. She was acquired via trade in December from the Western New York Flash, where she spent the 2015 season. Edwards played for the Houston Dash in 2014, moving to the Flash in the blockbuster trade which sent U.S. international Carli Lloyd to Houston.

Edwards was a four-year star for Florida State in college, captaining the squad in her senior year and making the semifinal list for the MAC Hermann Trophy, given to college soccer’s best player.

  • Chak Khan

    It seems many NSWL players are retiring while still at their peak and young. Is it a HINT to the USWNT that it’s not worthy of the callup that will never happen. JE did express interest in only selecting from the youth NT.

    • Steglitz49

      Ms Edwards is 28. She has never played for the senior WNT. She is wisely calling it a day.

      • AlexH

        Which underscores why our lasses should probably not bother with the NWSL at all. The odds of making the WNT are slim so if they feel that they must play soccer they should go to Europe and spend their early 20s broadening their horizons on somebody else’s dime. If they have national team skills then the WNT will eventually get around to coercing them back to the states, but until then they should enjoy everything the sport has to offer.

        • Lorehead

          If a European club offers them a deal like Lindsay Horan’s, they would be wise to take it. Otherwise, that life plan doesn’t result in their getting a college degree or much in the way of useful job skills.

          • JL

            Those deals are extremely rare. I know of at least one player who has had a great season for their NWSL team and did receive offers to play overseas in the offseason, but the pay being offered was so low that they decided it wasn’t worth it.

          • Steglitz49

            Daphne Corboz is still with Man City but Katie Stengel are back from Bayern Munich and Chioma Obagagu. Gina Lewandowski has, of course, stayed abroad.

          • Lorehead

            The pay in the NWSL couldn’t have been that great, either? We know what the maximum salary is.

          • JL

            We do, which is telling that a player who is not making anywhere near that will pass up overseas offers because the pay is even worse.

          • Lorehead

            It makes sense: we know that attendance in Europe is a fraction of what it is here. A few teams are heavily subsidized, but they only want big-name players. And there are work permits to worry about.

          • Steglitz49

            Casey Short and Adrianna Franch rebuilt their careers at Avaldsnes. Casey made the 1st XI of the Toppserien. Avaldsnes has a population of 2958.

            Oth Jasmyne Spenser chose not to stay with Bröndby a club based in the suburbs of Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.

            Living abroad is not for everyone.

          • Chak Khan

            Man, all this time I had thought attendance was larger due to the popularity and longevity of soccer in those countries. NWSL/s survival is dependent of attendance/ticket sold. How is the attendance in Germany?

          • Lorehead

            1,076. The highest average attendance in the league 1,945, which is less than the lowest average attendance in the NWSL.

          • Chak Khan

            Wow. What is an average attendance at EURO?

          • Steglitz49

            It depends. Most European clubs are lucky to get 500 per match and some only 100. A few average a couple of thousands. Umeå still holds the highest average for WoSo club over a season with 3900 but they had matches with 6000 and 9000 attending in their glory years.

            Specific matches such as Champions League QFs and SFs in spite of being mid-week evening games can pull in 7.000 and 20.000 for teams that normally get 5-800 at their league games. The best attended club matches in Europe was the 2012 Champions League final with >50,000 and the last two FA women’s Cup finals attracted 30,000 and 33,000 respectively.

            Though attendances have risen in Germany and England, they still average less than the Swedish league manage10-15 years ago. Unfortunately, attendances in Damallsvenskan have roughly halved since then.

          • tonysocref

            And another way to emphasize the difference:
            Thorns total attendance alone for 10 matches of 169,449 is 27,424 more then the total for the entire league with 132 home matches.

          • Steglitz49

            The average in Sweden (population 9.5m vs Germanys 84m) in 2015 was 900. Eskilstuna topped with 2641, Piteå 1649, Rosengård 1075, Linköping 1021 and Mallbacken 961. Of those only Rosengård is in a town with a decent men’s team.

            In 2004 the av was 1127 with Djurgården v Umeå 6250 and Umeå-Djurgården 8907. Umeå avraged 3900. In 2005 the av was maintained with 1110 and the peak was 6710 for Umeå v Malmö (now Rosengård).

            Attendances in England are poor but have been inching up.

          • Steglitz49

            As a rule in Europe, attendances at WoSo club matches is highest in places where there is no men’s team or the men’s team is lousy.

            Because the NWSL teams are in large conurbations — more people live in Chicago than in Sweden for example — it is not possible to make fair comparisons.

            The Champions League Final may be closest comparison to the final of the NWSL championship, if you consider that about as many ladies (probably slightly less) play soccer in Europe as in the NWSL area.
            2010, 10,300; 2011, 14,300; 2012, 50,200; 2013, 19,200; 2014, 11,200 ; 2015, 17,100; 2016 15,100. — which gives you a median of 15,000.
            — the 2012 final played in Germany came after the successful 2011 WC and is the only one played in a central location in Europe. The 2011 and 2013 were played in London, that is in an island off the shore of continental Europe

          • Steglitz49

            The pay depends on the club. Spending time in a foreign country is just that. Not everyone did what Marta did: learnt to speak Swedish, a language of less than 10 m people. Lotta Schelin learnt French but a few more around the world speak that lingo.

            I guess you have to find a club that suits you. Sofia “the stick” Jakobsson went from Umeå to Rossiyanka but it turned into a nightmare. Chelsea Ladies bought out her contract and she became their top scorer, then followed Cloppenburg in Germany and eventually Sofia settled at Montpellier in France where by all accounts she is happy and loved by the fans.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe her family subsidize her but were only prepared to cough up if she played in the USA.

          • AlexH

            True, but there is something to said for spending some time abroad. Lots of people hitchhike / backpack through Europe and they seem to find the experience valuable even though it does not directly improve ones resume. Being a pro athlete however, I think is a big plus in seeking future employment.

        • Steglitz49

          Jasmyne Spenser went to Denmark because of her studies and played for Bröndby. They offered her a pro contract but she preferred to go back to America and play in the NWSL.

          It would be interesting to learn Jasmyne’s reasons. It can’t just have been that the team has a reputation of posting pictures of themselves revealing too much naked flesh.

          • Chak Khan

            It cannot be because she enjoys earning anorexic paycheck.

          • Steglitz49

            Even if Danes speak decent English, I could imagine that playing for a team whose everyday language is Danish may make you feel a bit isolated. Jess Fishlock noted that with Frankfurt.

            Casey Short and Adrianna Franch rebuilt their careers in Avaldsnes in Norway but they were two Americans and it could be the tiny hamlet (<3000) of Avaldsnes and Norway is more welcoming. They also had Brazilian and Swedish players. Maybe the pay was better too.

          • Walt D

            I think Spencer is playing in NWSL and the Australian league in the off season. Or at least she has the past couple seasons.

          • Steglitz49

            The English-speaking world. No need to learn a language spoken by less people than live in greater DC or Boston.

        • Chak Khan

          Is the pay better abroad? Also, if every female soccer player took your suggestion, there would never be any NWSL in the US.

          • Steglitz49

            The NWSL “allocated” players earn a lot of money. Also, to practical purposes, unless you play in the NWSL you do not get selected for the WNT.

            If the USWNT had not blotted their copybook in OG-16, there might well have been offers from European clubs, as there were after OG-12. Now we wait and see but do not hold our breaths.

    • AnonyR

      I think it has more to do with the low pay they get. Can’t live off what NWSL teams pays them. Sooner or later they’re forced to find a better paying, year-round job. It’s sad, but you’ll see more of it happening until players are paid a better salary.

      • Chak Khan

        Admittedly, the salary is low but why, then, foreign players, i.e. Monica, Andressa, Amandine Henry, etc. come here to play in the NWSL?

        • Kaley

          There is more competition here. France’s league has two teams that are very good and win every game all season. Here, even the bottom few teams have a chance of beating the top teams every week.

          Plus you can bet that the internationals are the ones making max salary here.

          • Chak Khan

            Ah, yes, “internationals”; not “foreign”. Pardon.

          • Steglitz49

            Seattle have or have had several international players most if not all with top honors in their baggage: Naho, Rum, Manon, Jess, Rachel and Kim.

            In the first season that was so horrible, the Germans Conny Pohlers came and played for DC and Inka Grings and Sonja Fuss for Chicago. Shark Island Girl, aka Aya Sameshima, joined Houston for their first season but was injured just days before the start of the season. As I remember there have been others too.

          • mockmook

            I think I might enjoy that nearly as much as a WWC.

            But, it’s not clear that it would make money — the costs of holding the tournament would be significant.

            We are getting closer to the day that it will be viable, but maybe we aren’t there yet.

          • Steglitz49

            They tried for 3 years in Japan but eventually abandoned it.

          • Steglitz49

            Japan tried. It lasted 3 years. The NWSL never bothered to send a team.

            The competition was called after its sponsors. The first 2 years was it the MobCast Cup then the Nespresso Cup.

            In the first year Lyon travelled to Japan and won it. The next two years it was Chelsea and Arsenal from Europe. Teams came from Australia and South-America, but never the good ol’ US of A.

          • Steglitz49

            The NWSL is the league for USA, Canada and Mexico. At least, the FAs of those countries were its co-founders.

            Do we then compare with the top 8-16 teams in the Champions League? No NWSL team ever went to that Intercontinental Club Competition in Japan, so we must needs conclude that the NWSL is not interested in external quality assurance.

        • Arcie Tillydee

          Yes, Amandine was very specific about wanting to play in the league in order to experience a deeper league in which every game was contested (not just the ones she played against PSG). She liked the fact that the league represents, among other things, the huge group of players from which the USWNT is (at least theoretically) drawn. She’s looking to raise her already world-class game, and thought the NWSL was the place to do it.

          She was also eager to experience playing in Portland, for obvious reasons.

        • AnonyR

          Along with reasons already mentioned by other users (level of competition, etc., there’s a good chance those internationals are paid in the highest tier of salaries in the league. Henry without a doubt is most likely being paid the max. The players that have been retiring early probably had salaries in the bottom half. If you’re not a big name in the league or an international, it’s not hard to guess you’re not being paid well enough live off on. Also, Henry has already said the pay doesn’t matter to her. (She did play 9 seasons with Lyon who are notorious for paying their players extremely well).

          • Chak Khan

            What is the pay range for each NWSL?

          • AnonyR

            $7,200 – $39,000. And no player is allowed to make more than an allocated USWNT player.

          • Chak Khan

            $7,200 per year?!! Are they receiving Food Stamp and low income housing?

    • Lorehead

      But Edwards was in the U-20s.

  • JL

    Is it really that unusual for players to play only a few years before deciding to retire? I get that soccer is different from other major sports in the US because of the various leagues around the world that could offer a place to play compared to the relatively limited options for baseball, gridiron, and basketball. But the average length of a player’s career is 5-6 years max in those other sports. Not that far off from an NWSL player calling it quits after 4 years.

    • Kaley

      NWSL players tend to retire still in their prime and many of them have been vocal about the fact that they are retiring for financial considerations. there have even been a few mid-season retirements when someone got a year-round office job, iirc. That doesn’t happen in other leagues.

      • Steglitz49

        Money Maketh Lady.

        Can’t live off hot air for tool long.

  • Lorehead

    I remember her well from her short time here. All the best for her in her next chapter!

  • HOFCToDi

    “She also captained the U.S. to the 2008 U-20 Women’s World Cup title” yet Keelin Winters wears the captain arm band.

    fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/archive/chile2008/photos/index.html#972043