PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Thorns FC defender Sarah Huffman today announced her retirement from professional soccer. Huffman retires after playing six professional seasons, including the 2014 season with Thorns FC in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
“Soccer has been one of the biggest loves of my life. While I'm sad to be stepping away from it at the professional level, I will always stay involved at some capacity,” said Huffman. “I have learned the most valuable life lessons through the sport and will forever cherish the journeys it took me on. I am beyond excited to find what I hope will be my next love at Nike. I am excited about the opportunities ahead and will forever have soccer to thank for molding me into the person I am.
“A special thank you to the entire Portland Thorns organization. There was no better way to end a career than in your own backyard and in front of the best fans in the world. It was an honor to play for the club. You can guarantee our family will be season-ticket holders for life.”
Huffman, 30, was acquired in a trade from the Western New York Flash on April 7 and appeared in 22 regular-season matches (nine starts) for Portland, recording one goal and one assist during the 2014 season. She tallied her first career NWSL goal in a 2-2 draw against the Chicago Red Stars on July 4.
“I want to thank Sarah for all her contributions to the club,” said Thorns FC general manager Gavin Wilkinson. “A seasoned professional, she brought leadership and experience to our team during her time here in Portland. We understand her decision and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”
During the inaugural NWSL season in 2013, Huffman appeared in 14 matches (11 starts) for the Flash and started each of Western New York’s two playoff games, playing 72 minutes in the championship match.
The top pick in the 2008 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) draft by the Washington Freedom, Huffman played six professional seasons. From 2009-11, Huffman played with the Freedom and magicJack of WPS and also played professionally in Norway in 2008 with Røa IL, helping lead the team to a Norwegian Women’s Cup.
“Sarah will be sorely missed. She had a terrific season and was a top-class professional, both on and off the field,” said Thorns FC head coach Paul Riley. “Her soccer career was memorable and successful. Her relentless pursuit of her dream is totally admirable. I'm thankful to have coached her and I'm sure she was ecstatic to finish her career in such a fantastic soccer environment. She will be a huge success in the next stage of her life and we wish her all the best.”
At the international level, Huffman was a member of U.S. youth national teams from U-16 through the U-23 level and made her debut with the senior national team in July 2010 against Sweden. In 2002, Huffman helped the United States win the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championships.
A two time All-American, Huffman recorded 28 assists and 12 goals during her career at the University of Virginia and is among the career leaders in assists for the Cavaliers.