Longtime USWNT goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris announces retirement
CHICAGO – Ashlyn Harris, who was a part of two World Cup-winning squads for the U.S. Women’s National Team and was the starting goalkeeper for the historic 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Cup champions, has announced her retirement from professional soccer.
Harris, 37, participated in all 10 seasons of the National Women’s Soccer League, the final one with NJ/NY Gotham FC, and was part of the U.S. Women’s National Team programs for 20 years.
She burst onto the international scene in 2002 at the age of 16 when, as the youngest starter, she back-stopped the USA to the title at the first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup for female youth players. Harris played a stellar match in the championship game as the USA defeated Canada, 1-0, in Edmonton on a “Golden Goal” from Lindsay Tarpley in front of 47,784 fans.
She was also 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 World Cup teams across 12 matches.
Harris, who ended her U-19 career with 39 caps, among the most ever at that level, is the final member of the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup championship team to call time on her career.
The Satellite Beach, Fla. native also saw some extensive action with the U.S. Under-23/21s and played with the U.S. Under-16 and Under-17 National Teams during her youth career. Her first National Team activity was at an Under-14 National Team ID camp in 1999.
“It has been my greatest honor to represent this country both on and off the field,” said Harris. “I started this journey with U.S. Soccer 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 have supported me and lifted me throughout 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 to my longevity. This journey has always been about the people for me, so thank you for all the incredible memories and life-long friendships. To the fans, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope in some small way I’ve impacted your lives the way you all have impacted mine.”
After suffering numerous serious injuries in her college career at the University of North Carolina, where she eventually won two NCAA titles, she did not work her way into the senior National Team picture until 2010 after playing well in the second U.S. women’s pro league, the WPS, where she helped the Western New York Flash to the league title in 2011.
During her long and stellar professional club career, she played for the Saint Louis Athletica (WPS), Washington Freedom (WPS), Western New York Flash (WPS), FCR 2001 Duisburg (German First Division), Washington Spirit (NWSL), Tyresö FF (Sweden First Division), Orlando Pride (NWSL) and NY/NJ Gotham FC (NWSL).
She made her full National Team debut in 2013 in a 1-1 draw with Sweden at the Algarve Cup in Portugal and would play 25 times for the USA, of which 21 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 notably, she was a member of both the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup winning squads. She was the alternate goalkeeper for the 2016 Olympic Team.
Her final match for the USWNT was on January 31, 2020, in an 8-0 win over Panama in Olympic qualifying in Houston, Texas.
Harris made an impact off the field as well, something she will continue into her athletic retirement. Alongside her wife 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.