Washington Spirit’s Joanna Lohman Announces Retirement from Professional Soccer
Montgomery County native, Washington Spirit midfielder Joanna Lohman announced yesterday that she has officially retired from the National Women’s Soccer League and professional soccer effective immediately. The 36-year-old played professionally in the Washington D.C. and Philadelphia areas for over a decade.
Lohman, a Maryland native hailing from Silver Spring, has nine caps with the United States Women’s National Team and began her professional career after four years at Penn State University. After graduating with honors in 2003, with no domestic professional league in place, Lohman spent time overseas until she was drafted by Saint Louis Athletica of the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) during the 2008 WPS Draft. Lohman did not want to leave the Maryland area and she was traded to the Washington Freedom, who played their home games at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Lohman first joined the Spirit in 2015 and played 17 out of 20 matches in her first year with the team. In the 2016 NWSL season, Lohman propelled the team to a championship appearance by playing in all 20 matches plus the playoff semifinal. In 2016, Lohman scored four goals which was good for second-best on the team that year. She netted a spectacular bicycle-kick goal against the Boston Breakers a in the 2016 season opener.
She suffered a season-ending ACL tear in the 11th minute of the opening game of the 2017 NWSL season, but fought back through rehabilitation to return at the beginning of the 2018 season fully healthy and scored the Spirit’s first goal of that season against Seattle. In the final game of 2018, Lohman was named the honorary captain of the Spirit.
While Lohman will no longer be patrolling the midfield for the Spirit, she will maintain her relationship with the Spirit and local community. Lohman, who is a fan favorite for her tenacity on the field, willingness to interact with and inspire fans off the field, and her famous “JoHawk” haircut, will be taking on a new role within the Spirit organization, concentrating on community outreach based on soccer’s power to discover and define one’s self-worth and beauty. Lohman will aim to inspire and create a more personal connection with fans, players and those who need help on their journey towards self-acceptance.
Spirit CEO Larry Best had this to say on Lohman’s impact on the club and community: “Joanna is the ultimate professional on and off the field. She is a historical figure in Women’s Professional Soccer, and we are going to celebrate her contribution to the Spirit and women’s soccer later this season,” he said. “I’m delighted she has agreed to continue with the Spirit in a variety of duties. She remains an important part of our team and will continue to represent us in the community. Everyone with the Spirit congratulates Joanna on a remarkable playing career.”
“Soccer has been a massive part of my journey to self-acceptance,” said Lohman. “It also served as an avenue for me to establish my true identity,” she continued, “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.”
Off the pitch, the Maryland native recently launched her own online course, “Define Your Beauty” and is a human rights activist, professional speaker and a sport diplomat, traveling the world to lend a hand in less developed nations to promote gender equality, conflict resolution, cultural understanding, and economic development.
In addition, Lohman recently joined DC SCORES which is an afterschool development program that integrates soccer and off-field learning experiences to promote success for DC youth.
The Washington Spirit will be honor Lohman on the club’s inaugural Pride Night on June 22 against the Houston Dash. Lohman’s time with the Spirit and her impact on the community will be recognized in an exciting manner on a very special night.
The Spirit will open their 2019 NWSL season on Saturday night at 7:00 pm as they host Sky Blue FC at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Photos by Germantown Pulse. Video courtesy Washington Spirit.