Washington Spirit’s Joanna Lohman to Have Jersey Retired On Pride Night

One of the best players in Washington Spirit history will retire her jersey Saturday night at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown. Joanna Lohman will be honored at halftime of the Houston Dash-Spirit game for her professional and personal achievements as part of Pride Night.

The LGBTQ community will also be celebrated as well as showing their love for Joanna Lohman as she retires her jersey but not the sport.

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After 16 years of playing pro soccer, I have decided it's time to say goodbye to the game and HELLO to the bright future ahead of me. Saturday night was an incredible way to go out and I want to thank EVERYONE who has been a part of this beautiful journey. While it is a hard decision, it is made easier by the fact I have the support of my friends, family, teammates, fans and the entire @washingtonspirit organization. I am so excited for what comes next, including the role of Spirit Ambassador, HUGE retirement game on June 22nd (Pride Night), speaking tours all over the country, sports diplomacy around the world, giving the gift of beauty through my online course, and who knows…maybe I will even run for office! So, let's keep this rainbow party rocking. I love you ALL!!!!!!! SCROLL RIGHT for happy announcements and retirement smiles =) . #retirement #johawk #rainbowwarrior #lastdance #goodbye #thankyou #somuchlove #dayone #formerproathlete #spiritforlife #thebeautifulgame #movingon #forever15

A post shared by Joanna Lohman (@joannalohman15) on

After 16 years of playing professional soccer, Lohman decided it was time to hang up her cleats and start a new chapter. Lohman is a Silver Spring native who graduated from Springbrook High and Penn State, where she played on the women’s soccer team.

After graduating in 2003, Lohman was not drafted by any domestic professional league so she decided to play abroad. She was eventually drafted by Saint Louis Athletica in the 2008 Women’s Professional Soccer General Draft. However, she did not want to be far from home and was traded to Washington Freedom in 2009.

Throughout the years, Lohman has played for various teams: Philadelphia Independence, RCD Espanyol de Barcelona, D.C. United Women W-League, Boston Breakers, and Washington Spirit.

 

 

In the 2016 NWSL season, Lohman made a remarkable bicycle kick at the third minute against her former team the Boston Breakers, starting off the season with 1-0 victory for the Washington Spirit.

 

 

In of the 2017 NWSL season, at the 11th minute of the first game, Lohman severely tore her ACL, ending her season. Lohman was determined to return for the 2018 season, putting herself through an intensive rehab program. In the first game of the 2018 season, she scored the first goal against Seattle.

 

Her love for the sport goes beyond training for a match. In 2016, Lohman traveled to Botswana for two weeks. She shared her knowledge and skills with coaches and teenage girls who played barefoot on sandy villages in 105-degree weather with no sports attire or equipment, according to The Equalizer, a women’s soccer publication.

“It was inspiring and heartbreaking all at the same time because you realize how little these girls have,” Lohman said.

Though her playing days are over, Lohman will continue working in the Spirit organization helping to build a stronger relationship with the DMV community.

“Lohman will be taking on a new role within the Spirit organization, concentrating on community outreach based on soccer’s power to discover and define one’s self-worth and beauty,” according to Washington Spirit.

Lohman said soccer helped her find her “true identity” and accept herself for who she is. She is a human rights activist, professional speaker and Sports Diplomat who has learned a lot from her journey and wants to use her platform to make an impact and promote equality around the world.

She told SBNation, “I want to be a voice for so many who are forced into silence.”

Her devotion, advocacy and herself as a person lives up to her nickname Rainbow warrior.

 

 

“I realize how lucky I am to have this platform and to be able to have this voice and be adored for it. I’ve been adored for being a gay, out professional athlete. That is a privilege. I want to be a strong, central voice in the community and to really work toward gaining equality for not just the LGBTQ community but all minorities,” Lohman told Washington Post.

Lohman also plans to focus on being an impact on how people see and feel about themselves by leading them towards their self-acceptance journey the way she led herself. She has recently launched her “Define Your Beauty” course to help people start their journey.

 

Her awards, recognitions, achievements, goals, and passion will all be celebrated at Pride Night on Saturday.

 

 

 

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Frances Moyonero

About Frances Moyonero

Frances Moyonero is a Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Maryland. She was born and raised in Montgomery County, Maryland, but she has expanded her horizons within and outside the U.S. She can be reached at fmoyonero@mymcmedia.org or via twitter @Franny_Moyonero.

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