[U.S. WOMEN] Kristine Lilly, holder of the world record with 352 international appearances, has retired at the age of 39. She played in five Women’s World Cups (the only woman to do so) and three Olympic Games and scored in every world championship tournament she played, except her first, the 1991 tournament when she was 20 years old.
Lilly is the only player to appear for the United States in four different decades and is both the youngest and oldest player to ever score a goal for the USA and is also the oldest player ever to earn a cap by more than three years over longtime teammate Joy Fawcett.
“The thing that has been so great for me in making this decision is that I’m in such a good place with my life and soccer,” said Lilly. “When I look back at everything, I’ve been a part of, it’s been great. There are no regrets. The opportunities I’ve had to play with so many great players and be a part of so many great moments has been amazing. There are so many people who have supported me through my journey and I really want to thank the U.S. Soccer Federation for their support of women’s soccer, the Boston Breakers, the sponsors and the fans for giving me the opportunity to live out my dreams for the past 24 years.”
Lilly played most of her career on the left flank but also saw time at forward in the middle of the 2000s, was the second-youngest player ever to debut for the USA when she started against China -- at the age of 16 years, 12 days -- in 1987, only the third year of the women's national team program. She scored her first career goal in her second cap 10 days later.
She has been the world’s most capped female player since 1998 when she earned her 152nd cap against Japan, passing Norway’s Heidi Stoere.
Lilly, who played five seasons for the Boston Breakers in the WUSA and WPS, finishes her career with 130 international goals, second only to Mia Hamm in U.S. and world history. Her 105 career assists are also second in the U.S. record book to Hamm.
“Kristine Lilly has been an integral part of our women’s soccer history, a great ambassador for the game and a tremendous role model for young players in the United States,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “Her accomplishments speak for themselves, but her lasting legacy will be one of a player totally dedicated to the team and doing whatever it took on and off the field to produce success. “