Reign captain Winters to retire at end of NWSL season

Winters, 27, will retire after two NWSL Shields in four seasons with Seattle.

Seattle Reign captain Keelin Winters will retire at the end of the National Women’s Soccer League season, the club announced on Saturday.

“[Keelin’s] given us absolutely everything on the field for the last four seasons,” Laura Harvey, Seattle Reign head coach, said in a statement released by the club. “I call her the glue of this team. She’s always tried to do the right thing and make sure everyone is included.”

Winters will play her final home game with the Reign tomorrow (Sept. 11) against the Washington Spirit. The final regular season game of her career will take place in Houston on Sept. 25.

The Reign is currently fifth in the NWSL and can still qualify for the league's four-team playoffs with two wins and help from the Chicago Red Stars or Western New York Flash. Both teams, occupying the league's final two playoff spots, sit five points above Seattle in the standings.

A graduate of the University of Portland, Winters began her professional career with the Boston Breakers in Women’s Professional Soccer in 2011. After that league folded, Winters spent time with the Seattle Sounders Women of the USL's W-League and Turbine Potsdam in Germany. In 2012, Winters was allocated by U.S. Soccer to the Red Stars then traded to the Reign at the onset of the NWSL.

Though she was allocated by U.S. Soccer and had captain her country’s U-20 team, Winters never made a senior appearance for the national team.

In four seasons with the Reign, Winters has made 85 appearances, scoring five times and assisting on three others. In 2014 and 2015, she helped the Reign to two NWSL Shields, given to the team with the league's best regular season record.

"She’s going to be very difficult to replace both on the field and off the field,” Harvey said. “Keelin has been somebody that everybody’s leaned on at some time or another. She’ll be truly missed, but we wish her the best.”

Over the past two seasons, Winters has also played in Australia during the NWSL offseason, scoring seven times in 23 appearances for the Western Sydney Wanderers.