PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom today announced her retirement. Eckerstrom retires after a five-year NWSL career, including four seasons (2017-20) with Thorns FC.
“I’m so grateful to have had the chance to call Portland home for the last four years,” said Eckerstrom. “What an incredible experience it has been to play for this city and our amazing fans. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of walking out onto the field at Providence Park on game day. Thank you, Mark, Nadine, Gavin, Merritt, and the entire Thorns organization for allowing me the opportunity to live out my dream. This team will forever hold a special place in my heart.
“It has been an honor to play this game alongside such inspiring strong women. I’m excited about the continued growth of the league and so happy I had the opportunity to play a role in its history. I’m looking forward to the next chapter and will forever be cheering on the Thorns.”
Eckerstrom, 27, appeared in 26 matches (26 starts) across all competitions for Portland, recording seven shutouts. In 20 career regular-season matches with the club, Eckerstrom played 1,800 minutes, registering 71 saves and five shutouts.
During the 2020 campaign, Eckerstrom played in six of the Portland’s 10 matches – two matches in the Challenge Cup and all four matches during the Fall Series, including an 11-save shutout performance in the quarterfinal round of the Challenge Cup on July 17 against the North Carolina Courage. In six total games in 2020, Eckerstrom posted a 0.67 goals-against average, recording 32 saves and a pair of shutouts.
“On behalf of Thorns FC, I would like to thank Britt for her time with us and for her contributions to the club, both on and off the field,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Thorns FC general manager and president of soccer. “We respect and support this decision and wish Britt all the best in her future endeavors.”
A native of Germantown, Md., Eckerstrom began her NWSL career with the Western New York Flash in 2016. After helping lead Penn State to a National Championship, Eckerstrom was the first goalkeeper selected in the 2016 NWSL College Draft as the 26th overall selection. In her first professional season, Eckerstrom appeared in three matches, making three starts for the Flash before Thorns FC acquired Eckerstrom in a trade ahead of the 2017 campaign.
“Britt is the true definition of being team first – a special teammate who consistently gives and elevates those around her,” said Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons. “She pushed boundaries in her own performance every single day and is going out on a high note with some of her very best performances in 2020 and maybe the best performance I have ever seen in the quarterfinal of the Challenge Cup. While we are sad to lose her, I am excited to see Britt crush her next opportunity with the entire Thorns family behind her.”
During her career, Eckerstrom had two loan stints in the Australian W-League with the Newcastle Jets. In 2017-18, Eckerstrom helped lead the club to their first postseason appearance in 10 seasons. She then returned to Australia for the 2018-19 W-League season, starting in all 12 matches, while leading the league in saves (61).