The 10-game fall tour to celebrate the USA’s championship run at the 2015 Women’s World Cup will be the final matches in a U.S. uniform for veteran defender Lori Chalupny.
Chalupny, 31, will retire from an international career that began in March of 2001 when at the age of 17 she debuted against Italy in a match prior to the Algarve Cup. She currently has 103 caps and 10 goals. She will play out the season with the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL and then make a decision in regard to her professional club future.
She also became the 32nd player to reach 100 appearances for the USA, earning her 100th cap on May 10 against Ireland in San Jose. She will be honored for that achievement on Wednesday night in Chattanooga as the USA faces Costa Rica in the second match of the Victory Tour.
What: USWNT vs Costa Rica
When: Wednesday August 19, 2015 5:30 PM CT
Where: Finley Stadium; Chattanooga, Tenn.
Watch: ESPN2, WatchESPN
UPDATE by Dave Lange, Author of Soccer made in St. Louis
Being the No. 2 executive in U.S. Soccer, St. Louis native Dan Flynn regularly rubs elbows with the sport’s elite. During the recent Women’s World Cup, he took advantage of one such opportunity to query Anson Dorrance, the legendary head coach of the women’s soccer team at the University of North Carolina.
Recalled Flynn during a recent media event at Ballpark Village: “I said, ‘Anson, tell me, about all the players you’ve had, rate Lori.’ He said, ‘Lori would be in the top three, and it would be hard to pick who would be No. 1.’ So I think that says it all about Lori.”
“Lori,” of course, is St. Louisan Lori Chalupny, who announced her retirement from the U.S. Women’s National Team late Monday afternoon. It’s unclear if she will continue to play professionally with the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League. But her decision brings to a close a storied career with the U.S. team, recent World Cup champions and the only team to win the Women’s World Cup three times.
Chalupny is one of only 32 women to have played more than 100 matches for the national team, a milestone that will be recognized Wednesday night in Chattanooga, Tenn., where the United States meets Costa Rica in game two of the USWNT’s 10-game Victory Tour. Should Chalupny play in Wednesday’s game, her appearance would be her 104 th for the United States. A versatile player who is at home as a midfielder or a defender, she has scored 10 times for her country, including a memorable goal in front of 35,817 fans at Busch Stadium in a friendly against New Zealand last April 4.
Her career encompasses winning an Olympic gold medal in 2007, being named U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year in 2005, and starting all four seasons at North Carolina, including a 27-0-0 season in 2003 that culminated in one of North Carolina’s record 21 NCAA women’s soccer titles. But the capper came this summer as a member of the World Cup winners, which Chalupny said was a fitting ending to her international career after having missed almost six years with the U.S. squad because of concussions.
Becky Sauerbrunn, the defensive stalwart for the World Cup winners and, with Chalupny, one of the two best women’s players produced in St. Louis, told SoccerSTL.net that Chalupny “deserves to end her National Team career the way she is: on top, like the way she’s played for as long as I’ve known her.”
Sauerbrunn and Chalupny played youth soccer at J.B. Marine, but rarely played together until Chalupny rejoined the National Team last December. The 30-year-old Sauerbrunn is a year younger than Chalupny.
“ I always wanted to play with her again as we got older, but only managed to play against one another professionally,” Saurbrunn said. “Her reemergence on the national level, while amazing for her, was also amazing for the rest of the team. Her soccer IQ, versatility, and technique only served to make our team better and we all benefitted from having her back.”
Chalupny, along with Shannon Boxx and Lauren Holiday, is the third member of the World Cup team to announce her retirement from international soccer since the end of the tournament. Although the National Team is in the midst of its celebratory Victory Tour, head coach Jill Ellis also is looking ahead to next summer’s Olympics. She faces the difficult task of determining the 18 players who will make the Olympic roster, five less than were on the World Cup team.
When not playing on the Victory Tour with the USWNT or in the NWSL with the Chicago Red Stars this fall, Chalupny will be in her third season as an assistant coach with Maryville University’s women’s team. Her presence helps bring Maryville’s club to a higher level, says Maryville’s head coach, Eric Delabar.
“The No. 1 thing is that she’s a role model to our players,” Delabar says. “She persevered through all those years of getting back on the National Team, and when she did, she made the most of it. That means a lot to our girls. And when she’s at practice, she plays with them. They are just in awe of her. From watching Lori work her way back to the National Team, and to play against her in practice, has made our girls a much better team. I feel very blessed to have her as one of our coaches.”
“It’s been an amazing year,” said Chalupny. “Winning a World Cup is any soccer player’s biggest dream and I feel very fortunate to have had these experiences. That said, there is no better way to go out than as a world champion and this just seemed like the right time to put a cap on my international career. It’s been an emotional journey back to the National Team, and I’m really thankful to U.S. Soccer, to Jill, to the staff and to my teammates for making this year such a memorable one.”
Lori’s family will be on hand in Chattanooga for the match, aided by the American Outlaws chapter locally. In particular by Karen Montgomery who is covering a shift for Lori’s sister Casey so that she can attend as well.
Chalupny displayed tremendous versatility throughout her career, making an impact as a center-midfielder and an outside back. Chalupny’s international career can be divided into two parts, the first spanning 2001-2009 when she played 92 games, starting 79. In 2009, she served as captain of the U.S. team for several matches. As a midfielder, she started in the 2007 Women’s World Cup, scoring against Nigeria in group play and against Norway in the Third-Place match. As a defender, she helped the USA win the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics, scoring in the epic 4-2 win against Japan in the semifinal match.
In 2009, her international career was put on hold due to concussion issues, but she continued to play in various professional leagues. In 2014, she approached U.S. Soccer about the possibility of returning to the National Team. Following extensive examinations by two independent neurology experts, along with an examination of those results by the U.S. Soccer medical staff, she was cleared to return to U.S. WNT action and played well enough to earn a spot on her second Women’s World Cup Team.
Chalupny played in one match off the bench in Canada, coming on for the final 10 minutes against Colombia in the Round of 16.
Among the highlights Chalupny experienced during her second stint with the National Team were scoring in her hometown of St. Louis on April 4 of this year in front of a then-record crowd of 35,817 as the USA defeated New Zealand, 4-0. She also came off the bench to spark a 5-1 U.S. victory against Mexico on May 17 with a goal just seconds after entering the match at halftime.
Chalupny grew up in St. Louis and from an early age was a part of the USA’s Youth National Teams. She was a starter and unsung hero on the U.S. team that won the inaugural FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in 2002 when she played alongside future U.S. Women’s National Team players Heather O’Reilly, Lindsay Tarpley, Ashlyn Harris, Rachel Van Hollebeke and Leslie Osborne, among others. She attended the University of North Carolina where she won one NCAA title. In 2005, she was voted the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year.
Chalupny played in the WPS in 2009 with her hometown St. Louis Athletica and also played in the league for the Atlanta Beat. In 2012, she played for the Chicago Red Stars in the WPSL, and briefly in Sweden, and has played the last three seasons for the Red Stars in the NWSL.
“I have so many great memories from my career and all the teams I’ve played with and the teammates I’ve been fortunate enough to play alongside,” said Chalupny. “Now, I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life. I know I will still be heavily involved in the game and look forward to sharing my passion with young players in whatever environment I find myself in.”
Chalupny is currently in her third season as the assistant women’s soccer coach at Maryville University in St. Louis. Chalupny holds a U.S. Soccer “B” Coaching license. She can be seen below on the bench with the team in a game against UMSL on 30 October, 2013.
Six games of the 10-game tour have been confirmed with the USA opening the Victory Tour with an 8-0 win against Costa Rica yesterday in Pittsburgh. The USA will play Costa Rica again on Wednesday night, Aug. 19, at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn. The USA will face Women’s World Cup quarterfinalist Australia on Thursday, Sept. 17 at Ford Field in Detroit followed by a second match against the Aussies on Sunday, Sept. 20 at historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. October will feature two matches against Brazil, on Oct. 21 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle and Oct. 25 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
This story contributed by Dave Lange, author of Soccer Made in St. Louis: A History of the Game in America’s First Soccer Capital, published in August 2011 by Reedy Press.
Previous contributions to this site include STLFC Host Des Moines in 1st US Open Cup match and stories from the USWNT visit in April, including “Perfection #STLsoccerCity” along with Lori, Becky and their JB Marine Club Coach Mike Gauvain.