Christen Press to Take Break From USWNT, Angel City FC to Focus on Mental Health

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 9, 2021

United States forward Christen Press (23) during their 2021 WNT Summer Series match against Jamaica Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
AP Photo/Michael Wyke

United States women's national team forward Christen Press announced she is stepping away from the sport for a "couple of months" to focus on her mental health.

She explained her decision in an Instagram post Thursday:

"I've been a professional player for 10 years. And I'm very proud of the fact that I've been available for nearly every professional match for both club and country. And yet, that has come with a focus, intensity, and prioritization that has left little room for much else. I've made the difficult decision to take a couple of months away from the game to focus on my mental health, spiritual growth, and processing grief. 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."

The United States is set to face Paraguay in a pair of friendlies later this month, but Press was not included in the roster.

The 32-year-old also recently signed with Angel City FC of the NWSL after leaving Manchester United in June.

Press scored four goals with one assist in 12 appearances for Manchester United in the Women's Super League during the 2020-21 season. She has also been a key player for the national team throughout her career, helping the Americans win the World Cup in 2015 and 2019.

The veteran was also on the roster during the Tokyo Olympics, although her role fluctuated during the run to a bronze medal.

Press came off the bench during the 1-0 semifinal loss to Canada but started in the 4-3 win over Australia in the semifinal.

The USWNT doesn't have any more competitive matches in 2021, while the next major tournament isn't until the 2023 World Cup. It could provide an opportunity for the team to see some younger players during low-stake games.

Regulars Julie Ertz and Megan Rapinoe were also left off the upcoming rosters due to injuries, while veteran Carli Lloyd announced in August she will retire.

Mallory Pugh, Sophia Smith and Andi Sullivan are among those who could step up for the national team in the matches against Paraguay.