Former Seattle Reign FC midfielder Lindsay Elston announced her retirement from playing professional soccer today. She posted her retirement statement on Twitter, which you can see/read in full below.
There comes a point in every athlete’s life when it’s time to move on. For those of you who don’t know, I was recently traded to Boston. While I’m honored that Boston wanted me to come join their team, the trade made me face an inevitable decision that has weighed heavy on my shoulders for a while now. Players in the NWSL don’t play for the money, fame or lifestyle. We play because there is no greater joy than being out on that field next to your teammates, working towards a common goal. We’re fiercely competitive and driven to continue without fail. Soccer has been my identity, passion and pursuit for 20 some years. It has brought me some of the greatest friendships I will carry on the rest of my life. It has taught me to be resilient, dedicated and strong.
If you ask any athlete that has made it far in their sport, they will say there is never going to be an easy time to walk away. Will I miss it? No doubt. But when this trade smacked me in the face, I had to look hard in the mirror and ask, “What is the end goal?” I’ve set up my life in Seattle, I am committed to the young girls I coach, I have my friends and family all around me… to uproot my life at this stage simply didn’t feel right in my heart. I will never stop loving the game. I will never be burnt out from soccer. I am, however, burnt out from playing the other game. Unfortunately, that comes with the territory. It’s a personal decision that was very tough to make. I never intended to let anyone down, but for once I am making a decision for myself and I hope if nothing else, you can respect that.
I want to thank everyone that has been in my corner. My family, friends, teammates and many others who have helped me get to this stage. But more importantly, I’d like to thank the people who didn’t believe in me. The people that told me I wasn’t going to make it, that cut me from teams, that put obstacles in front of me. YOU got me to where I am. It was you who made me dig deeper and fight harder. It was my dream to play professionally. To prove to myself I could play with the very best in the world. Credit to the NWSL, I accomplished my goal. I have a wealth of experiences, positive and negative, that I will be able to share with the next generation. I can’t wait to see what the next chapter in my life looks like. I can’t wait to invest everything I have into new passions and goals.
Boston, I want to thank you for being so respectful in my decision. You didn’t need to be, but you were. Thanks for being a very classy organization and I wish you all the best.
Seattle, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to end my career in my hometown. In front of my friends, family, the young players in the area, former coaches and more. I want to thank my teammates for the laughs, memories and for pushing me to be a better player and person. I’ll be rooting for you guys.
Once I made my decision, the first thing I did was write down a long list of everything I want to and can do now. When one door closes, 100 new ones open. I’m finally ready to tackle my next adventure. I don’t expect you to understand, but I hope that you’ll try.
Lastly, thank you soccer for the greatest gift; the ability to express myself with a ball at my feet.
This past Thursday, Elston was traded to the Boston Breakers along with a conditional draft pick for Boston’s second round pick in next year’s NWSL College Draft. The Reign then sent that second round draft pick to the Houston Dash to acquire Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams. Williams got the start in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over the Dash. In the press release of Elston going to Boston, it was also announced that Elston would not be finishing the 2017 season without a reason given.
With Elston announcing her retirement, one has to speculate that Boston would be looking to get maximum value on that conditional draft pick come NWSL College Draft time.
Elston definitely created value for herself this season as growth in her game gave her as much right to be on the starting eleven as opposed to roster rotation because of injury or international call-ups. Where she provided spark off the bench in 2016, the 2017 Lindsay Elston was confident on the impact she could make on the field. “Laura (Harvey) is always like, ‘Lindsay you have the green light, shoot,’” said Elston after a match against the Boston Breakers in July.
It was her versatility in the midfield that made it important for Harvey to see Elston come out of the open tryouts in 2016 with a spot on the roster for her. The investment in Elston’s talent paired with Harvey’s coaching staff paid off with highlights coming this season when she claimed her first professional goal as part of the 6-2 demoltion of the Washington Spirit in May. In addition, she put in some solid outings in the midfield against FC Kanasas City in June, Portland Thorns in July and North Carolina Courage in August.
Lindsay Elston closes her professional playing days, making 27 appearances in total for the Seattle Reign FC, adding to 5 for the Houston Dash in their inaugural season in 2014, and 5 for French side FC Metz in 2014/2015. Her signing with Seattle would ultimately be her life as a soccer player coming full circle as she played soccer at Eastlake High School, the University of Washington, and Seattle Sounders Women on the road to putting on the Seattle Reign FC shirt. Not many athletes, whatever their sport can say they got to play at the professional level in their hometown, in front of friends and family. Those that have, like Lindsay Elston did not take it for granted.
So while Lindsay Elston thanks the game of soccer for what it has given her, Reign fans won’t hesitate to return the sentiments to her and say, thank you Lindsay.