Christie Pearce has told Adweek she is ready to retire. A Q&A with the two-time World Cup and three-time Olympic champion was posted online Sunday evening and included the following:
Are you really ready to retire from soccer?
I’m ready. This year was about enjoying it and having fun. There have been a lot of younger players in the back line, so it was about getting them prepared and ready for this season and next season so I could step away from the team in a better place than I found it. I’m a player-coach, in a way. We definitely have a lot of rookies on the team who have so much potential.
That team of course, is Sky Blue FC which Pearce has captained throughout the five-year existence of NWSL. She was also a founding member of the club when it launched with WPS in 2009 and famously took over as player/coach with two games remaining and led the club on an improbably run to the WPS Championship. The legend only grew days later when it was revealed Pearce was pregnant with her second child during the closing weeks of the season.
Earlier this year, U.S. Soccer honored Pearce prior to a SheBelieves Cup match at Red Bull Arena. The former national team captain retired from international duty in a manner consistent with her understated personality when she withdrew from the team’s camp ahead of the 2016 Olympics saying she was not up to the rigors of international training and playing. She never played for the national team again, finishing with 311 caps, second most in world soccer history (Kristine Lilly.)
Pearce was up to league standards though. She played all 1,800 minutes for Sky Blue last season—one of only five NWSL players to do so—and was named to the league’s Second XI. Pearce’s consecutive minutes streak ended when she entered concussion protocol in April but she has returned to help guide the club’s young defense. Sky Blue currently sit third on the NWSL table.
A scoring star and basketball standout at Monmouth College, Pearce is the last remaining active player from the 1999 World Cup championship team. She played in four more World Cups including 2015 when the U.S. again lifted the trophy. Pearce was not a starter for that team but was subbed on late in the final against Japan and was on the pitch for the final whistle.
On Saturday, Pearce turned 42. She is the only player to appear in all 11 seasons of women’s pro soccer in the United States and the only player ever to see action in her 40s.
Other topics included in the Q&A include the league’s deal with Lifetime and where she sees herself in coaching. It is part of Adweek’s list of the most powerful women in sports. NWSL managing director Amanda Duffy and A+E CEO Nancy Dubuc.