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Tuesday Roundup: Anja Mittag retires from international soccer

Also in today’s roundup, Josephine Henning returns to Arsenal, Gemma Fay announces retirement from international soccer, and Jessica Houara-d’Hommeaux ruptures ACL.

Anja Mittag is honored on the occasion of her 150th cap for Germany (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Anja Mittag retires from international soccer

On Tuesday, Anja Mittag announced her retirement from international soccer in a statement to her fans posted to her social media account. The 32-year-old striker has played for Germany for over 13 years, earning 158 caps and scoring 50 goals for her country in that time.

“Words seem to escape me, as I try to sum up the privilege I have had, from sharing the pitch with so many world class players to the young players that I have hopefully inspired,” she wrote in her statement. “In the 158 country games, I have always tried my best to enjoy the game and show you how proud I am to play for my home country.”

Mittag was most recently part of Germany’s EURO 2017 squad that, for the first time in over 20 years, did not repeat as European Champions. However, she was part of the German squad that won the continental title in 2005, 2009, and 2013, and was a part of the 2016 Olympic gold medal-winning team.

During the second annual SheBelieves Cup tournament earlier this year, Mittag was honored for her 100th cap before Germany’s opening match against the US. In the team’s final match of the friendly tournament, against England, she scored her 50th and final goal for the team.

Although she is retiring from international soccer, she will continue playing at the club level. In March she signed a two-year contract that brought her back to FC Rosengård in Sweden’s Damallsvenskan league, where she previously played from 2012-2015. Mittag left Rosengård to play a year each with Paris Saint-Germain and VfL Wolfsburg, before returning to the club ahead of the 2017-2018 season.

Josephine Henning returns to Arsenal

Josephine Henning is headed back to Arsenal. (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Arsenal announced on Monday that Josephine Henning has returned to sign a new contract with the FA Women’s Super League (FA WSL) team.

“I’m very happy to be back at Arsenal,” Henning said in the team’s official statement. “I have unfinished business here, and I can’t wait to get started. As ever, we want to win trophies here, and I’m going to work hard to help the club reach those goals.”

The 27-year-old defender previously played for the Gunners in 2016, making 10 appearances for the club and helping them to win the 2016 FA Cup. Following the conclusion of the FA WSL season, Henning signed with Olympique Lyonnais and made a number of appearances for them during their historic treble-winning run.

“Josy is a true professional both on and off the pitch. She is an incredibly intelligent player who reads the game with precision. She brings so much to the squad and we are all delighted to have been able to bring her back to our club,” Arsenal manager Pedro Martinez Loso said.

The German international has also previously won the Bundesliga title four times and the Champion’s League title three times between stints at Turbine Potsdam and VfL Wolfsburg.

Internationally she was a member of the 2013 EURO-winning squad and helped Germany win the 2016 Olympic gold medal. She, like Mittag, was a part of the 2017 SheBelieves Cup and European Championship rosters.

Gemma Fay becomes third Scot to retire post-EUROs

Longtime Scotland skipper Gemma Fay also announced her retirement from international soccer on Tuesday.

She joins Leanne Ross and Ifeoma Dieke in a growing list of Scots who have retired from international soccer following their nation’s group-stage exit of this summer’s European Championships, the first major finals the nation has ever qualified for. She started in and played every minute of Scotland’s three group stage matches in that tournament.

“I felt the time was right to call it a day and that my journey was complete after playing in the Euros this summer,” she said in an official team statement. “I have given everything I can for my country and as the team moves into a new era with a new head coach it’s time to pass the baton to the next generation. Captaining my country for the best part of a decade has meant everything to me. It’s an indescribable honour that is asked of very few people and to be part of that has been humbling.

“When I was a child if you had told me I would play for my country once I would have been delighted, so to have done so on 203 occasions is incredible.”

Fay was first capped when she was just 16 years old, and her international career spans almost 20 years. Her 203 appearances for Scotland made her the most-capped player in team history. She has captained the team since 2009, the same year in which she received her 100th cap.

EURO 2017 wasn’t only several players last hoorah with the Scottish team, but, as Fay mentioned, it was also the end of Anna Signeul’s 12-year tenure as the team’s head coach. She moves on to coach Finland’s national team, while former Scotland captain and defender Shelley Kerr replaces Signeul at the helm of her former team.

Jessica Houara-d’Hommeaux suffers ACL tear

According to Jessica Houara-d’Hommeaux’s Twitter account today, the French defender has ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during time with her club, Olympique Lyonnais.

She first posted a short video of her right knee undergoing treatment on Monday with the caption “News for the next episode,” only to confirm earlier today that she had ruptured her ACL.

The 29-year old hurt her knee during the team’s preseason friendly against Hoffenheim on Sunday, which Lyon won, 3-0. No word yet on how long she will be out, but it is highly unlikely she will return to the pitch before 2018.

Houara recently returned to Lyon after playing with France in the 2017 European Championship, in which France was eliminated by England in the quarterfinal round. It was the first time England had ever defeated France in 43 years. Houara accumulated 250 minutes over 4  appearances for Les Bleues in said tournament. 

The loss of Houara may not be as sharp of a blow for Lyon as in previous seasons, as the team recently announced the signing of England and former Manchester City Lucy Bronze, also a right back.


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