Thorns FC midfielder Ashleigh Sykes announcement her retirement from professional soccer today.
Joining the club in June 2017, Sykes appeared in 15 matches (13 starts) during the regular season, and started in both 2017 NWSL playoff matches as she helped Thorns FC win the 2017 NWSL Championship. She made her NWSL debut on June 17 and scored her first goal for the club against the Chicago Red Stars on Sept. 30.
Sykes just wrapped up her W-League season with Canberra United and wanted to express her thanks to the club and the city:
First, I want to say a massive thank you to Merritt Paulson, Gavin Wilkinson and Mark Parsons for giving me the opportunity to come and play for the Portland Thorns. It was always a goal of mine to test myself in the NWSL, and to play for one of the biggest women's clubs in the world was an amazing experience, one that exceeded all my expectations. To come away with a championship and to get to play in front of Portland's incredible fans is something I still struggle to describe.
I'm looking forward to moving on to the next stage of life, sharing my love of the game through working in football and cheering my teams on from the stands. Thanks for the wonderful experience and look after my other Aussies!!