Lori Chalupny announced her retirement from professional soccer on Tuesday, ending a career which included a World Cup title in 2015 and an Olympic gold medal in 2008.
Chalupny had already retired from the U.S. national team, playing her final international game on Oct. 25 against Brazil. Tuesday’s announcement confirms that Chalupny will not continue playing for the Chicago Red Stars, the club which she captained for the past four years across two different leagues.
“For a lot of the last couple of years, I was just trying to stay in the moment and take it day by day,” Chalupny said. “That said, I had a pretty good idea of my decision by the end of this past NWSL campaign. After the World Cup, I wanted to let all the buzz about it play out and get back to normalcy a bit to see where I was at. So I definitely took a lot of time to think about it and came to a decision that I’ve felt really good about during this offseason. That’s why I’m ready to announce it.
Chalupny, 31, played for the U.S. national team over 100 times, first from 2001-2009. She was considered one of the best left fullbacks in the world when she helped the Americans win the 2008 Olympic gold medal.
But recurring concussions kept Chalupny from playing for the U.S. national team from 2009 until the end of 2014, when she was medically cleared by U.S. Soccer again. (Chalupny continued to play professional club soccer throughout the entire stretch, including from 20013-15 in the NWSL, which is operated by U.S. Soccer.) Chalupny’s return came just in time for her to earn her spot on the U.S. World Cup roster. She played nine minutes off the bench in the Round of 16 against Colombia at the 2015 World Cup.
“After winning the Word Cup, which was something I had dreamt about my whole life, it was tough to come off that high and continue. At the same time, I have some chronic injuries and things I’ve been dealing with for a while now, and my body was simply telling me that it was time. To be honest, those two factors coming together made the decision a lot easier.”
Chalupny played college soccer at North Carolina, where she won a national championship in 2003. Professionally, she played in WPS for St. Louis Athletica — her hometown club — in 2009 and part of 2010 before moving to the Atlanta Beat after Athletica folded mid-season in 2010. She played with the Beat until WPS folded before beginning the 2012 season.
Chalupny says she could see herself coaching in the future. She is currently the assistant coach of the women’s soccer team at Maryville University in St. Louis, Mo.
“Lori is irreplaceable,” Red Stars general manager Alyse LaHue offered. “She’s been our captain and rock for four years. It’s rare to find her combination of tenacity, flexibility on the field, quiet leadership and humility. She truly represents what we strive for as a club: teamwork, grit, community and kindness.