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Loyden officially retires from professional soccer

Jill Loyden has retired from international and professional soccer.  (Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Jill Loyden has retired from international and professional soccer. (Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Jill Loyden officially announced her retirement from club and country on Tuesday, one day after calling for now ex-teammate Hope Solo to be benched in wake of Solo’s pending domestic violence case.

Loyden, 29, played for Sky Blue FC in 2013 and 2014, the first two seasons of the National Women’s Soccer League. She was 8-7-6 for the team. Loyden has 10 caps for the U.S. women’s national team, first appearing on the international stage in 2010.

“At the goalkeeper position, players tend to be a little bit older when they truly get into their top form, so it is difficult to see a player retire who is just coming into her own,” Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra said. “In league play, Jill had been performing very well and had really been finding her rhythm. She has done so much for our club over the past two seasons, and that makes it tough to see her retire.”

On Monday, Loyden penned a column for USA Today calling for Solo, the current U.S. starting goalkeeper, to be benched until her case on two counts of fourth-degree domestic violence assault are heard in court on Nov. 4. Solo allegedly assaulted her half-sister and 17-year-old nephew in a June 21 incident.

Loyden’s sister, Britton, was killed in January 2012 by alleged domestic violence. Ismael Pierce, the father of Britton’s child, Madden, pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and aggravated manslaughter.

Loyden was Solo’s back-up goalkeeper throughout her national team career, and she was Solo’s back-up in Saint Louis in WPS in 2009 before becoming the Chicago Red Stars’ starter in 2010 and playing for magicJack in 2011, where Solo appeared sparingly.

In 2012, Loyden founded the Jillian Loyden Foundation, established “to create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people by empowering them and help them find value in themselves.” The foundation will hold its annual Break the Silence Gala on Nov. 15, which is held to raise awareness and help victims of domestic violence.

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