PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC midfielder Angela Salem today announced her retirement. Salem retires after more than a decade in professional soccer, including four seasons (2018-21) with Thorns FC in the NWSL.
“Being selected by the Portland Thorns in the dispersal draft was truly a dream come true,” said Salem. “Representing this city, the fans, and the organization has pushed me to become a better player, leader, teammate, and individual. I am thankful that Mark [Parsons], Gavin [Wilkinson], and Merritt [Paulson] gave me the opportunity to live out my dreams while also supporting me in getting my master’s [degree].
“I never took my time in Portland for granted and poured my heart and soul into every game, training, and opportunity that was presented. My journey throughout my career and especially with the Thorns has been quite a ride, but all good things come to an end, and fortunately, I feel at peace knowing that my last game was played exactly where I wanted – with my friends, at Providence Park, in front of our home fans, watching you all wave your scarves one last time.”
Salem, 33, appeared in 23 games (21 starts), tallying two goals and one assist during her final season in 2021. An NWSL Best XI First Team pick in 2021, she was a three-time NWSL Team of the Month selection (Aug., Sept., Oct.) and a 2021 NWSL MVP finalist. She arrived in Portland before the start of the 2018 season after Thorns FC selected her in the NWSL Dispersal Draft. During her tenure in Portland, Salem appeared in 31 regular-season matches (24 starts), tallying two goals and one assist. Across all competitions, she made 48 appearances, including 37 starts.
“Angela was such an impactful player, teammate, and person to this club, what she contributed is irreplaceable,” said Thorns FC general manager Karina LeBlanc. “We want to thank her for the way she committed to this organization, the fans and the community. We wish her the best in this next phase of life, and hope to work with her in the future to continue her legacy here in Portland.”
Across a nine-year NWSL career, Salem appeared in 133 matches (121 starts), with over 10,000 career minutes played, three goals and two assists. She won an NWSL Shield with the Western New York Flash (2013) and concluded her career in Portland with a 2020 Community Shield, 2021 Challenge Cup, 2021 Women’s International Champions Cup and the 2021 NWSL Shield. In 2016 and 2017, she featured with the Boston Breakers where she played in 43 matches (43 starts), including her 100th career NWSL appearance on Sept. 10, 2017, against Thorns FC. Salem also played for the Washington Spirit in 2015 and the Flash (2013-14).
Following a standout collegiate career at Francis Marion University, Salem began her professional career in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) with Sky Blue FC in 2010 before signing with the Atlanta Beat for the 2011 season. She also played overseas in Finland and Australia.