CHICAGO (November 14, 2022) – Ashlyn Harris, who was part of two USA Women’s World Cup squads and was the starting goalkeeper for the historic FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup champions in 2002, has announced her retirement from professional soccer.
Harris, 37, has played in all 10 National Women’s Soccer League seasons, most recently with NJ/NY Gotham FC, and has been a part of the U.S. Women’s National Team program for 20 years.
She broke onto the international scene in 2002 at the age of 16 when, as the youngest starter, she supported the USA to the title at the first FIFA Women’s World Cup for young players. Harris had a great game in the championship game as the USA defeated Canada 1-0 in Edmonton on Lindsay Tarpley’s “Golden Goal” in front of 47,784 fans.
She was both the starting goalkeeper and captain of the U.S. team that finished third at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Thailand. She played every minute in goal for those two teams at the World Cup in 12 games.
Harris, who finished her U-19 career with 39 caps, among the most ever at that level, is the last member of the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup to call it quits.
The Satellite Beach, Florida native also saw some extensive action with the U.S. Under-23/21 team and played with the U.S. Under-16 and Under-17 national teams during her youth career. Her first representative activity was at the camp for identifying the national team under 14 years of age in 1999.
“It has been my greatest honor to represent this country both on and off the field,” Harris said. “I started this journey with American football at the age of 13 and it has shaped me in every part of my life. I’m proud of the woman I’ve become, and I can only thank the people who supported and lifted me up through it all. Thank you to all my youth national team coaches, full national team coaches, goalkeeper coaches, support staff and everyone in between.
“To all my teammates, you have been the driving force behind my longevity. For me, this journey has always been about the people, so thank you for all the amazing memories and lifelong friendships. To the fans, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope that in some small way I have impacted your lives as you have all impacted mine.”
After enduring a number of serious injuries in her college career at the University of North Carolina, where she eventually won two NCAA titles, she was unable to make the senior national team until 2010 after playing well in America’s second women’s professional league, the WPS, where she helped the Western New York Flash to the 2011 league title.
During her long and stellar professional club career, she played for Saint Louis Athletica (WPS), Washington Freedom (WPS), Western New York Flash (WPS), FCR 2001 Duisburg (German First Division), Washington Spirit (NWSL), Tyresö FF (Swedish First Division), Orlando Pride (NWSL) and NY/NJ Gotham FC (NWSL).
She made her national team debut in 2013 in a 1-1 draw with Sweden at the Algarve Cup in Portugal and played 25 times for the USA, 21 of which were starts. She played against 21 different countries during her international career, had nine career shutouts and a 17-2-2 record for the USA.
Most importantly, she was a member of both the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup winning teams. She was an alternate goalkeeper for the 2016 Olympic team.
Her final game for the USWNT was on January 31, 2020 in an 8–0 win over Panama in an Olympic qualifier in Houston, Texas.
Harris left an impact off the field as well, something she will continue even in her sports retirement. Alongside her husband and fellow World Cup winner Ali Krieger, she has been a role model and outspoken champion for equality and inclusivity, using her platform to raise awareness and support for LGBTQ+ rights and mental health awareness.