Chicago Red Stars / National Women's Soccer League

Leslie Osborne says farewell to playing career

After a nine year career Chicago Red Stars midfielder and former U.S. Women’s National Team player Leslie Osborne has announced her retirement.

Osborne who was named team captain Red Stars prior to the Inaugural NWSL season made 18 appearances and netted one goal in her lone season with the club.

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Her journey didn’t come without some setbacks. In 2008, Osbourne tore her ACL which took 10 months of rehab and resulted in her missing the Beijing Olympics.

“It’s been an amazing nine years playing professionally and I will never really be able to express how much soccer has impacted my life,” Osborne said. “To be able to represent my country playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team and to play in two different professional leagues, and be a captain on all those teams, is a dream.”

The 31-year old was grateful to finish her career in the Midwest where it all began.

“Most of all I want to say thank you to the Chicago Red Stars staff and fans that have supported me along the way and in women’s soccer. It is really special to end my career in Chicago…to be back where it all started…in the Midwest.”

Osborne was a standout during her collegiate career with Santa Clara University where she had 44 goals and 33 assists and as a senior she won the NCAA’s Honda Award,  the nation’s top female athlete in their respective sport.

After serving as an assistant coach for many years at  Santa Clara, she is headed back to her alma mater in December to take the position of associate athletic director.

“I’m obviously disappointed Leslie won’t be part of team this year, but more so I’m very excited for her as she begins this next phase of her life,” Rory Dames, Red Stars Head coach said. “She was a great player, teammate and role model for the women’s game. She has left a legacy she can be very proud of, both on and off the field.”

Osborne’s impact was felt beyond the field of play especially in her time with the Breakers. After the WPS folded, Osbourne spent time recruiting investors to keep the Breakers franchise afloat.

After making her senior U.S. National Team debut in 2004 Osborne went on to make 64 appearances her country. Osborne has played for the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, California Storm and FC Gold Pride.

“I want to thank my mentors who helped pave the way,” Osborne said. “I want to thank my coaches who gave me the opportunity and chance to learn and grow. I want to thank the owners and fans who have given us the opportunity to play the game we love. I want to thank my amazing teammates, both current and former for the memories.”

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