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Stephanie Labbé announces plans to retire in Spring of 2022

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Canada’s Olympic champion goalkeeper will be hanging up the boots after a friendly this spring.

Canada v Sweden: Gold Medal Match Women’s Football - Olympics: Day 14 Photo by Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images

Olympic champion Stephanie Labbé plans to retire from soccer in spring 2022, she announced Wednesday.

The goalkeeper was an integral part of the Canadian national team’s gold medal win at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, carrying them through two shootouts in the quarterfinals against Brazil and in the final over Sweden.

“[She’s] been terrific, not just this summer,” said Canada head coach Bev Priestman in a press release. “But I think this summer showed just how much a fierce competitor [she is].”

Immediately after suffering a blow to the rib during the first game of the 2020 Olympic tournament, Labbé saved Japan’s penalty kick. After missing the group stage match against Chile, the Edmonton, Alta. native went on to post a clean sheet in the quarters against Brazil and in the semis against the USA. It was the first time the Canadians had beat the United States in 20 years.

“It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it,” said Labbé. “It’s not only an incredible achievement for Canada Soccer but I think a lot of it is the people that you do it with and the people that you’re surrounded with. It’s emotional thinking about it but I’m just so proud to do it with an incredible group of players.”

Before Tokyo, Labbé helped Canada to a bronze medal in Rio 2016, serving as starting goalkeeper after Erin McLeod was ruled out due to injury. She was also a member of Canada’s 2019 FIFA World Cup roster.

The former Connecticut Husky’s first callup with the senior national team was in 2004, and in 2008 she made her first cap as a second-half substitute in an 8-0 win over Singapore.

At the club level, Labbé helped the North Carolina Courage to an NWSL championship title and the NWSL Shield (most regular season wins) in 2019. She first played for the Washington Spirit in 2016, starting and playing in eight matches to record a club record of five shutouts in one season to help them reach the final.

In total, Labbé’s played for eight teams since leaving the NCAA. She’ll end her career with Paris Saint-Germain, who she signed with in 2021.

Although the top-three FIFA Best Goalkeeper finalist is leaving her spot between the posts, she plans to stay involved in the growth of Canadian soccer. With sights set on a women’s professional league in the country, Labbé is passionate about using her voice to push the conversation, investors, and the media representation of female athletes.

“Soccer has a huge place in my heart and is something I want to continue to push for,” said Labbé. “I look at myself … if I had the opportunity to be playing on a professional team in my home city who knows where I would be at and if [retiring] is the decision that I would be making right now.

“It’s just providing those opportunities, not only for the next generation and the younger athletes, but also for older athletes to have that opportunity to play at home. I think it’s something that is so incredibly special and for sure something that’s a big passion of mine and I’m excited to be a part of.”