Joanna Lohman announced her retirement today, calling time on a career that saw her play in multiple professional women’s soccer leagues in the United States as well as for clubs on three continents. Lohman, who appeared 9 times for the USWNT, is well known for using her position to consistently advocate for the LGBTQ community. She will remain with the Washington Spirit organization in a community outreach role that the club says will be “based on soccer’s power to discover and define one’s self-worth and beauty.” The Spirit will honor Lohman’s contributions on and off the field at the club’s first-ever Pride Night on June 22nd.
In a team release, Lohman expanded on what that new role will be about, saying “Soccer has been a massive part of my journey to self-acceptance. It also served as an avenue for me to establish my true identity. I personally have experienced the power of sport… I want to make everyone who interacts with our organization to feel comfortable in their own skin.”
THIS IS IT!!! After 16 years of playing pro soccer, I’ve decided it's time to RETIRE & say HELLO to the bright future ahead of me. Saturday night was an incredible way to go out & I want to thank EVERYONE who has been a part of this beautiful journey. @WashSpirit— Joanna Lohman (@JoannaLohman) April 8, 2019
More to come! pic.twitter.com/32tXEFhyII
Lohman, who recently announced that she’s teaching an online course called Define Your Beauty, will also be an ambassador for DC SCORES, D.C. United’s community partner. She will also remain active with the US State Department’s Sports Diplomacy program and as a human rights activist.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lohman’s final appearance in a Spirit jersey came with a game-winning goal in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Virginia Tech.
.@JoannaLohman going out with a GOAL#Forever15 // #SpiritFam pic.twitter.com/2b1FNL3HSK— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) April 8, 2019
After an excellent four-year college career with Penn State, which included being a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy in 2002 — Lohman did not have a US-based league to go pro in, as WUSA had folded in 2003 while WPS was still years away from starting up. Like many players at the time, she had to make do with USWNT residency camps, W-League clubs, and/or playing abroad. Lohman spent a season with Bälinge IF in Sweden before eventually being drafted by Saint Louis Athletica in the WPS’s 2008 General Draft.
Lohman was quickly traded to the Washington Freedom, playing a season there before spending the offseason with Japanese club NTV Beleza. Lohman then signed with the Philadelphia Independence for two seasons, only for WPS to fold. Lohman moved on, playing for Espanyol in the Spanish top flight before returning to the States to play for the short-lived D.C. United Women in the USL W-League in 2012.
D.C. United Women became the Washington Spirit, but Lohman’s first NWSL club was the Boston Breakers. After a loan stopover in Cyprus with Apollon Limassol (where she got to play in the UEFA Champions League), Lohman was a two-year starter in Boston. Waived after the end of the 2014 season, Lohman was picked up in 2015 by the Spirit, becoming an immediate starter at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
After a solid 2015 season, Lohman was crucial in the Spirit’s run to the 2016 NWSL Championship game, starting every regular season game and the playoff semifinal (which remains the club’s only playoff win to date). Chief among her highlights was a bicycle kick goal in a season-opening 1-0 win over the Breakers:
Lohman’s 2017 did not go to plan, as she tore her ACL just minutes into the season opener. Undeterred, Lohman completed her rehab and was back in time for the 2018 season opener, scoring a goal after coming in as a halftime substitute in a 2-1 loss to Seattle. In the end, Lohman scored 6 goals in her 52 regular season appearances for the Spirit.