KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Canadian midfielder Diana Matheson announced her retirement from professional soccer on Wednesday.
Matheson finishes her career as the second most capped player in Canadian women’s soccer history with 206 behind Christine Sinclair (296).
She also finished tied for second in assists with 23.
“Even though she wasn’t able to join us this season, she leaves a great legacy in our league and in the game as a whole,” head coach Huw Williams said. “She’s accomplished great things during her career and we wish her the best in her next chapter.”
Matheson debuted with the Canadian national team in 2003, a year before starting her college career at Princeton.
She made appearances in three Olympics, winning two bronze medals (2012, 2016) and three FIFA Women’s World Cups.
In 2008, she joined Team Strømmen in Norway before making her way to the NWSL and playing for the Washington Spirit in 2013.
After a one-year stint in which she didn’t touch the field in 2017 with the Seattle Reign, Matheson joined the Utah Royals. She also missed the 2019 season with a foot injury.
In her retirement announcement, Matheson wrote about wanting to expand the women’s game in her native Canada.
“We need to provide pathways for the 99% of Canadian women who aren’t lucky enough to be identified for our National Team by the age of 15,” Matheson said. “The ones who are talented enough to play professionally, but leave the game because there are no better options.”
Matheson wants a NWSL franchise in Canada and a domestic Canadian women’s professional soccer league to provide a pathway for more women to play.
“This might seem far-fetched to some, but that’s only because we haven’t done it yet, and it can get here sooner than you think,” Matheson wrote. “The value and investment in women’s sport is growing rapidly around the world, and Canada can be a part of that movement. Our women’s sports industry can flourish in this country, and it’s time to start building.”
Matheson said she plans to get her MBA this year and will join other former Canadian players in expanding and building the Canadian soccer landscape.
“I want a kid from Canada to wear the uniform of their hometown team, and hear the anthem play before kickoff at a women’s professional match on home soil.”