PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC defender Kat Williamson today announced her retirement as a professional soccer player. Williamson retires after playing four professional seasons, including three with Thorns FC in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
“Playing for this organization for three years, I just feel so fortunate and blessed. Merritt Paulson and Gavin Wilkinson truly care about us as players, not only on the field, but off the field as well,” Williamson said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I think the thing I’ll miss the most is just the support that we’ve gotten from the fans throughout our four years as a team and will continue to get in the future.
“As sad as it is for me to leave, I’m excited to watch this progress with the team and the organization. I couldn’t have asked for a better three years with Thorns FC and I’m going to miss it tremendously.”
Williamson, 27, joined Thorns FC as the team’s first-round (8th overall) selection in the 2013 NWSL College Draft, becoming the club’s first-ever college draft selection. A graduate of the University of Florida, Williamson appeared in 47 regular-season matches (45 starts) and recorded a goal and an assist in three seasons with Portland, while helping the club win the inaugural NWSL Championship during the 2013 season and the 2016 Supporters’ Shield.
“I’d like to thank Kat for her massive contributions to this organization,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for Thorns FC. “Kat was with us when we won the 2013 NWSL Championship, and the Supporters’ Shield this past season. Without her, we believe these titles would not have been possible. We wish her all the best as she pursues the next step in her career.”
The McKinney, Texas, native played four professional seasons, spending three with Thorns FC (2013, 2015-16) and one season with Western New York Flash (2014). The 2015 Thorns FC Defender of the Year, Williamson ends her Thorns FC playing career ranked fifth all-time in games played (47).
“It has been a pleasure to get to know Kat and to coach her this season,” said Mark Parsons, head coach of Thorns FC. “In a challenging year with the early injury, Kat continued to show amazing qualities to get back to full fitness and continue to support and be there for the team. She has been an important professional on the pitch and a special character in the locker room. I wish her the best in her next step and know she will go on to do great things in life.”
A standout for the Gators, Williamson was a four-year starter for the University of Florida and appeared in 81 matches (80 starts) during her college career, while claiming the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award in 2010. Florida advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of Williamson’s four seasons on the team, as well as capturing SEC titles in 2009, 2011 and 2012.