Stephanie McCaffrey to Suspend Playing Career Due to Illness
It is always sad to see a career cut short, so here is a brief tribute to Stephanie McCaffrey who has just announced she will not return to the Red Stars for the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League.
Stephanie McCaffrey has announced she will not return to the Chicago Red Stars for the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Season due to her ongoing neurological illness. The Red Stars are coached by Rory Dames who is entering his ninth season at the helm of the NWSL team.
“After a long and trying battle with a neurological illness this year, my doctors, family, and I have decided it is not in the best interest of my health to continue playing professional soccer,” said McCaffrey.
“While I am sad I did not get to leave soccer on my own terms, I’m incredibly grateful for the time I had with my Red Stars teammates, coaches, and organization. This group has truly become a second family for me, and I couldn’t have asked for better people to surround me during my final chapter,” said McCaffrey. “I can’t thank them enough for carrying me forward during hard times.”
“I’m looking forward to being their biggest fan in their pursuit of a 2019 NWSL championship, and still being connected to the NWSL through my non-profit Hidden Gems Soccer.”
McCaffrey was originally taken with the fifth overall selection by Chicago in the 2015 NWSL College Draft before being traded to the Boston Breakers. She would go on to make 31 league appearances in two years with Boston.
McCaffrey returned to the Red Stars in a trade on July 2016. She would make 34 appearances over three seasons, scoring twice.
McCaffrey spent her university career at Boston College, earning team captain duties in her senior year along with being an All-ACC First-Team honoree on two occasions. She was also just the fourth player in program history to score 90 or more points in their career.
After participating with the U.S. Women’s National Team U-23 squad during 2014 and 2015, she was called up to the full-team camp in January of 2015. She scored her first international goal in her very first cap with the U.S. Women’s National Team on October 25, 2015. She became the 18th U.S. Women’s National Team player to do so.
Hidden Gems is a non-profit organization founded by Stephanie McCaffrey and focuses on connecting girls playing soccer in low-income areas of the United States with professional soccer athletes.