Christen Press announced on Instagram she will “take a couple of months away from the game to focus on my mental health, spiritual growth, and processing grief.”
The USWNT star, who has been a professional soccer player for a decade, left Manchester United in June and became the first player to sign with NWSL expansion franchise Angel City FC in August.
“And I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve been available for nearly every professional match for both club and country” Press said, in part. “And yet, that has come with a focus, intensity, and prioritization that has left little room for much else.
“I’m sad to miss the upcoming games and seeing all of our wonderful fans. I believe I will come back stronger than ever. Thanks for all your support on my journey.”
Press, who is the all-time leading scorer in Stanford soccer history, last played in the NWSL with Utah Royals FC, which folded in December. During a season-and-a-half in Utah, Press scored 10 goals in 25 appearances before leaving for Manchester United last September.
The 32-year-old made her USWNT debut in 2013, and has made 155 appearances and scored 64 goals. Press helped the team win World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019. She most recently won bronze in the Tokyo Olympics with the USWNT.
There’s been a push within athletics over the last several months for athletes to focus on their mental health, dating back to when tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open in May. She went on to not play at Wimbledon this year, but did compete at the Tokyo Olympics. After recently losing at the U.S. Open, Osaka said she wasn’t certain when she would play again, going on to describe her relationship with tennis.
The world saw Simone Biles withdrew from the Olympics women’s gymnastics team final “due to a medical issue,” USA Gymnastics said at the time. Over the coming days, she also withdrew from the individual all-around event, vault and uneven bars and the final for floor. It would later be revealed Biles did so for two reasons—her mental health and a bad case of the “twisties.” Olympic icons like Michael Phelps and Caeleb Dressel supported and defended the gymnast’s decision.