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Boxx won’t finish NWSL season, will play with US

Shannon Boxx (right) won't return for the rest of the NWSL season. (Photo Courtesy: Chicago Red Stars/Smith)

Shannon Boxx (right) won’t return for the rest of the NWSL season. (Photo Courtesy: Chicago Red Stars/Smith)

Shannon Boxx will not return to the Chicago Red Stars for the rest of the season, U.S. Soccer announced on Monday. Boxx and fellow U.S. midfielder Lauren Holiday will each retire at the end of 2015. Both players will take part in the United States’ World Cup victory tour, a 10-game series from August through December.

“I’ve been blessed to play soccer professionally for 15 years,” Boxx said. “Much of my success at the international level – three gold medals and a World Cup victory – is owed to the professional women’s soccer leagues in which I’ve played. I’m excited to see the NWSL grow and inspire a new generation of girls who may, one day, have their dreams come true just as mine did.”

Boxx, 38, had previously announced she would retire at the end of the year. She will retire with three Olympic gold medals and a World Cup title. Boxx played in only 11 career games in two-plus seasons with Chicago due to pregnancy and injuries.

“This is the right decision for me right now,” she said. “And though I’ll continue on with the U.S. team and our victory tour, I look forward to the next chapter in my life. Having the time to focus more on my family, whose support has made everything possible, is something I will cherish as much as the game.”

Holiday will finish the NWSL season with FC Kansas City in hopes of winning another league title. She was named NWSL Championship MVP last year en route to leading the Blues past Seattle Reign FC. Holiday was named league MVP in 2013, the NWSL’s inaugural season.

“I have so much respect for FC Kansas City and when I made my decision to retire, I knew I wanted to come back and finish out the season, not only for the club, but for the fans,” Holiday said. “Hopefully we can win another title and really go out on top.”

Holiday, 27, told NBC Sports that she prayed about her decision for a couple of years and she is at peace with it.

“I’ve been praying about it for a couple years now and really just this last year, it was so clear to me,” Holiday said. “I had so much clarity about it. I knew that I wanted to give my all to the World Cup. I wanted to be able to say that I gave it my all to fulfill the final dream of winning the World Cup and I feel like I did that. Even if we wouldn’t have won, I felt very comfortable in my decision. I feel like God had led me to that decision, so I was ready either way.”

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