After nine years on the pitch, Leslie Osborne announced her retirement from professional soccer Tuesday.
The Chicago Red Stars co-captain and midfielder is hanging up her cleats ahead of the 2014 NWSL season, despite the belief she would have been a part of the Red Star’s starting eleven.
Osborne, 30, has also spent time with former WPS teams FC Gold Pride and the Boston Breakers, before joining the Red Stars for the inaugural NWSL season in 2013. She made 18 starts with the 6th place Red Stars while netting one goal.
Along with an accomplished career at the club level, Osborne has represented her country with the U.S. National Team. After time with youth national teams and a World Championship with the U-19 squad, the midfielder made her debut with the full senior team in 2004. She was in intricate part of the team until she tore her ACL ahead of the 2008 Olympics.
“It’s been an amazing nine years playing professionally and I will never really be able to express how much soccer has impacted my life,” Osborne said. “To be able to represent my country playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team and to play in two different professional leagues, and be a captain on all those teams, is a dream.”
“I want to thank my mentors who helped pave the way. I want to thank my coaches who gave me the opportunity and chance to learn and grow. I want to thank the owners and fans who have given us the opportunity to play the game we love. I want to thank my amazing teammates, both current and former for the memories.”
“And most of all I want to say thank you to the Chicago Red Stars staff and fans that have supported me along the way and in women’s soccer. It is really special to end my career in Chicago…to be back where it all started…in the Midwest.”
The Wisconsin native had a successful collegiate career with the Santa Clara Broncos. She finished with 44 goals and 33 assists. At the end of her senior year Osborne was awarded the 2004 NCAA’s Honda Award and was a finalist for the Mac Herman Trophy.
More recently, Osborne accepted a job with FOX Soccer as a color commentator on the U-20 CONCACAF Women’s Championship.
“I’m obviously disappointed Leslie won’t be part of team this year, but more so I’m very excited for her as she begins this next phase of her life,” Red Stars Head Coach Rory Dames said. “She was a great player, teammate and role model for the women’s game. She has left a legacy she can be very proud of, both on and off the field.”
Despite the loss of Osborne, the Red Stars will look to open their season against Western New York Flash on April 19th, as part of a double header with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park.