Christie Pearce: “This decision, while it is hard to swallow, I know is the right thing for me and the team because I just can’t leave it all on the field every day.” (Jeffrey Auger Photo)
By Michael Lewis
Christie Pearce just might have played her last professional soccer game.
Sky Blue FC announced Friday that the former U.S. international captain and defender will miss the remainder of the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League season due to accumulative injuries.
On Feb. 2, the 42-year-old Pearce told this writer that the 2017 season would likely be her final one as a pro.
No decision has been made on Pearce’s playing future, a club spokesman said. She will make a final decision at a later date.
“I’ve always had a really good awareness of my body and the ability to recover,” Pearce said in a statement. “I feel that I started the season off strong, but I’ve been consistently fighting through injuries, and I’m not able to give to the team what I consider to be my 100 percent. This decision, while it is hard to swallow, I know is the right thing for me and the team because I just can’t leave it all on the field every day.”
It certainly has been an earth-shattering week for Sky Blue FC. Two days ago Christy Holly stepped down as head coach.
Pearce also will not take over as interim coach as she is expected to be focused on her physical recovery.
When Sky Blue FC played in Women’s Professional Soccer in 2009, Pearce took over as interim coach late in the season and directed the club to its one and only professional championship.
Pearce played every minute, but has been slowed by various ailments this year. She made 16 starts over 16 appearances in 2017, registering 1,440 minutes.
“Something I must do is personally thank all of the fans,” Pearce said. “I feel so privileged to have their unwavering support, and they have always stood by me through thick and thin. I am also very confident that the team will push on this season in my absence. Erica and Mandy are now back to full fitness, and they will make significant contributions to the team’s success the rest of the way.”
The native of Point Pleasant, N.J. has performed with Sky Blue FC since the NWSL was founded in 2013.
With the national side, Pearce earned 311 caps, the second most in the history of international soccer (men or women), behind former teammate Kristine Lilly (354 appearances). She won two Women’s World Cups with the U.S. women’s national team, as well as winning three Olympic gold medals and one a silver medal.
“It goes without saying that Christie Pearce will be greatly missed throughout the rest of the 2017 season,” Sky Blue FC President and General Manager Tony Novo said in a press release. “We must always remember that players have a life off the field as well, and their personal well-being must remain at the forefront of a decision like this.”
Sky Blue FC hosts Seattle Reign FC at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J. Saturday at 7 p.m.