Houston Dash midfielder Christine Nairn announced her intention to retire from professional soccer following this Sunday’s Dash friendly match against Tigres UANL this afternoon. The midfielder made the announcement on her personal Instagram page.
“26 years. 26 years of playing a sport that has allowed a girl from Bowie, Maryland to fulfill her dreams of playing professionally, traveling the world, and make memories with teammates, friends, and family that will last a lifetime. With a heavy heart, I’m announcing my retirement from professional soccer on September 19th,” Nairn said in her Instagram post.
Prior to kickoff of Sunday’s Dash vs. Tigres match, the Dash will celebrate Nairn’s and honor one of the most widely respected and admired players in NWSL history with a special pre-match ceremony. Kickoff for that match is set for 6 p.m. CDT. Tickets are available at HoustonDash.com/Tickets and the match will be streamed live at HoustonDynamoFC.com/Live.
“Christine is the epitome of what it means to be a professional in our sport, and it has been an honor to coach her over the last three years,” said Houston Dash head coach James Clarkson. “She is one of the best players to have played in the NWSL and has played a massive role in helping build this league into what it is today. On behalf of everyone at our club, I wish her all the best in her retirement.”
Following her retirement, Nairn announced that she plans to remain in Houston and has accepted an opportunity to join the Houston Fire Department Academy to become a firefighter.
Nairn, 30, is an original member of the National Women’s Soccer League, starting her professional career as the seventh overall pick in the inaugural NWSL College Draft in 2013. She has played in 167 NWSL matches across all competitions over the last eight seasons, including 155 regular-season contests for Seattle Reign FC (now OL Reign), the Washington Spirit, the Orlando Pride and the Houston Dash. Her 155 appearances rank fourth in league history.
Nairn became the first player in NWSL history to reach 150 appearances on Oct. 12, 2109 against Utah Royals FC. She retires as one of just seven players in league history to record at least 20 goals and 20 assists.
The Maryland native joined the Dash in a trade with Orlando on February 26, 2019 and has made 35 appearances in all competitions and 27 in league play for the team, scoring one goal. In 2020 she helped the Dash capture the first league championship in team history when they won the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup.
Nairn made two international appearances for the United States Women's National Team and scored the game-winning goal in a friendly against Canada on July 22, 2009. Prior to these appearances she played for the US U-16, U-17, U-18, and U-20 national teams. She also was a part of the 2010 CONCACAF U-20 team that defeated Mexico by 1-0 in the final, winning the tournament for the US.
Prior to her professional career, Nairn starred at Penn State from 2009-12. She earned unanimous first-team All-Big Ten honors and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and national Rookie of the Year by TopDrawerSoccer.com in her debut campaign. She followed that up with three more All-Big Ten seasons and earned second-team All-American honors as a junior and first-team recognition as a senior. In her final season, she led Penn State to the NCAA College Cup Final and was a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, given annually to the nation’s best collegiate soccer player.