Kara Lang today announced her retirement from competitive soccer as a player. A two-time United Soccer Leagues W-League championship winner, Lang played an instrumental role in establishing Vancouver Whitecaps FC as a top club in North American women's soccer.
"I have come to the very difficult decision to retire from soccer and step down from the national team and Whitecaps FC," said Lang. "I have always held myself to a very high standard - as it is demanded at the international level. Regrettably, I am physically incapable of maintaining that standard and fulfilling my role as a player."
Born in Calgary, Alberta, the native of Oakville, Ontario, first joined the Whitecaps FC women's team as a 16-year-old in 2003. By 2004, the midfielder/striker had won her first W-League championship title with the 'Caps before winning a second championship with the Blue and White in 2006. Then after a three-year hiatus, the 24-year-old returned to Vancouver for what was her final season in 2010. During that year, the midfielder/striker also served in the role of Whitecaps FC Women's Ambassador.
In her five seasons with Whitecaps FC, Lang started 25 of 36 total appearances for 2,418 minutes of action. She sits ninth on Vancouver’s all-time career leader list with 14 goals and eight assists for 36 points.
"Though Kara was only 16 when she first joined us in 2003, she showed maturity beyond her age, both on and off the pitch," said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. "Her talent on the pitch and her commitment to the game and the community made her a great role model for young female players in Canada."
One of the most recognizable figures in the Canadian women's soccer, Lang helped Canada win a silver medal during her country’s hosting of the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship. It was also in 2002 that she made her debut with Canada's senior women's national team as a 15-year-old at the Algarve Cup in Portugal. As a member of the senior squad, Lang helped Canada reach the semifinals of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the United States and appear at the 2007 Women's World Cup in China. She was also part of the Canadian team that reached the quarterfinals of the 2008 Women's Olympic Football Tournament.
Lang's 92 appearances during a nine-year career with the Canadian national team leaves her eighth on the country's all-time women's international appearance list, while she sits fourth on Canada's all-time international goals list with 34. Her final appearance for Canada came last November during her country's successful qualification for next year's FIFA Women's World Cup.
A product of Oakville Soccer Club in Southern Ontario, Lang was also a standout at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she appeared for the Bruins between 2005 and 2009.