April Heinrichs (center): “Looking back starting in 1985 as a player and then head coach of our women’s national team in the early 2000s, it was a dream come true in every conceivable way.” (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)

April Heinrichs, whose career as a player, coach and administrator has spanned the history of the U.S. women’s national team, will leave step down as youth women’s national team director at the end of the year.

Heinrichs captained the Americans to the very first Women’s World Cup championship in 1991 and guided the team to a silver medal in the 2000 Olympics and a gold medal in the 2004 Summer Games, among her accomplishments.

“April Heinrichs is a world champion as a player, a coach and an administrator,” U.S. Soccer secretary general/CEO Dan Flynn said. “She is a pioneer for the women’s game who never hesitated to share her knowledge and experience for the betterment of others and for that we are all appreciative.

So ends what can be called Heinrichs’ “Act 3” with the U.S. Soccer Federation in a remarkable professional life spent in support of the women’s game.

Heinrichs has played, coached, scouted or worked as a member of the FIFA technical study group at 20 international events, which includes the Women’s World Cup, Olympic Games and youth World Cup tournaments.

“Looking back starting in 1985 as a player and then head coach of our women’s national team in the early 2000s, it was a dream come true in every conceivable way,” she said. “And then to have eight years as director of our youth national teams, working with our nation’s best and brightest players and coaches, I can’t imagine a better profession. It’s a privilege every time you represent the USA, every time you step on the team bus and at every training session. I’ve done it for so many years and now is a good time for someone else to do it.”

Heinrichs earned 46 USWNT caps and scored 35 international goals before knee injuries prematurely ended her playing career.