Sky Blue FC defender Christina Gibbons took to social media on Saturday to announce her retirement from professional soccer.
The 24-year-old kept her announcement brief, saying, “Going out as the same goofy but determined kid who came in, but forever changed” before thanking her teammates, coaches, team staff, and the fans.
Gibbons joined Sky Blue ahead of the 2018 season via trade from Utah Royals FC, who had acquired the contracts of the now-defunct FC Kansas City, where Gibbons played her rookie season. Utah acquired USWNT defender Kelley O’Hara and midfielder Taylor Lytle in the trade in exchange for Gibbons and forward Shea Groom.
For Sky Blue, Gibbons made 16 starts in 18 appearances for the club, totaling 1430 minutes. She was mostly utilized as a defender, although she did make one or two appearances in the midfield, where many think she is most effective.
Gibbons was featured heavily in FCKC’s midfield in her rookie season, earning 23 starts in 24 appearances, scoring a goal and tallying three assists. She arrived in Kansas City after coach Vlatko Andonovski selected her as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft following a stellar four years at Duke University.
With her retirement Gibbons is now the fourth member of Sky Blue’s 2018 squad to depart the team with a fifth, Shea Groom, rumored to also be out the door via trade to Seattle Reign FC. Gibbons’ announcement comes just three days after Katie Johnson, also traded to Sky Blue in 2018, was traded to the Chicago Red Stars.
The mass exodus of players and the reluctance of draftees to play for Sky Blue FC seem to be tied to the poor management of the team, both in regards to on-field results and reports of poor conditions surrounding several aspects of Sky Blue players’ professional lives. Many fans around the league have speculated whether Sky Blue will have enough players left to field a team once the 2019 season begins.
Those factors likely played a part in Gibbons’ decision to hang up her cleats for good. Even so, she kept it light with her final goodbye, signing off the same way she signed her autograph for two years.
“Currently taking application to join a rec league near you. So, for one last time as a pro, GIBBY - 31.”