United States women’s national team forward Christen Press has announced plans to take time out from soccer, citing a desire to focus on her mental health, spiritual growth, and processing grief.
Press, who left Manchester United in June and has subsequently signed for National Women’s Soccer League expansion club Angel City FC, was not included in the USWNT’s squad for the two games against Paraguay later this month, the first of which is live on ESPN2 at 7.30 p.m. on Sept. 16.
“I’ve been a professional player for 10 years,” Press said on Instagram. “And I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve been available for nearly every professional match for both club and country. And yet, that has come with a focus, intensity, and prioritization that has left little room for much else.
“I’ve made the difficult decision to take some time away from the game to focus on my mental health, spiritual growth, and processing grief. I’m sad to miss the upcoming games and seeing all of our wonderful fans. I believe I will come back stronger than ever. Thanks for all your support on my journey.”
Press, 32, made her debut for the USWNT in 2013 and has won the FIFA Women’s World Cup on two occasions, in 2015 and 2019. She has made 155 appearances for the team, scoring 64 goals.
Among the other USWNT players who will not play in the matches against Paraguay include goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, midfielders Julie Ertz and Samantha Mewis and forward Megan Rapinoe, due to injuries.
The matches — along with two in October against South Korea — will be the final games for Carli Lloyd, who’ll retire from a storied career as the second-most-capped player in world soccer history with 128 international goals, two World Cup titles, and two Olympic gold medals.
Lloyd, 39, will also finish out the rest of the NWSL season with her club, NJ/NY Gotham FC, before also calling time on her 12-year, six-club career. Lloyd will be recognized at a “Hometown Farewell Match” on Oct. 6 when Gotham and the Washington Spirit meet at Subaru Park in Philadelphia.