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Illinois native played for Red Stars in WPS, WPSL-Elite and NWSL

CHICAGO, Ill. – Former Chicago Red Stars defender-midfielder Julianne Sitch has announced her retirement from professional soccer, following a career that stretched across 14 years, three countries and various different leagues. The 31-year-old had three separate stints with the Red Stars, suiting up for the club during the 2010 WPS season, the 2012 WPSL-Elite season, and the 2013 and 2014 NWSL seasons.

“It was really a matter of other great opportunities coming up that I’m passionate about,” explained Sitch. “I’ve been doing a lot in terms of coaching kids and working with individuals on agility, strength and conditioning, and injury prevention. I’d really love to continue to work with kids and develop them. With that part of my life growing, I just felt it was the right time to stop playing competitively.”

An Illinois native, Sitch was a standout at Chicago’s DePaul University from 2002 to 2005, setting career records for goals, assists and points. What followed were stints with teams in the United States and abroad, including the Red Stars, Sweden’s Bälinge IF and Hammarby IF, Australia’s Melbourne Victory, and WPS sides Sky Blue FC, Western New York Flash and Atlanta Beat.

Having most recently played for Chicago, Sitch continues to reside in the area. Despite the expected mixed emotions that come with leaving the professional game, she looks forward to the next chapter of her life.

Admitted the former U-21 U.S. international, “I’m going to miss competing, being part of a team and seeing my Red Stars teammates every day during the season. I’m really close friends with many of them. But being local, I will still get to see them and I’m really excited to watch them play and support them this season.”

Red Stars General Manager Alyse LaHue was full of praise for the long-time Chicago player.

“Julianne dedicated many years of her pro career to the Red Stars and we are forever grateful for the professionalism and hard work she brought to the club,” LaHue said. “It has always meant a lot to us to have players who grew up in the area or played their college ball nearby, so she was the perfect example and model for girls aspiring to a career in soccer. Julianne will continue to be a great advocate for the game as she advances into her coaching career and we wish her the best of luck.”

In reflecting on her time with the Red Stars, Sitch took the opportunity to express her gratitude as well.

“I want to thank the coaching staff and front office for giving me the opportunity to play professionally in my home state and in front of my family and friends for several years,” she said. “That has really meant a lot to me.”

The 2015 Chicago Red Stars campaign kicks off on April 18 with the team’s big home opener against Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe and current NWSL Shield holders Seattle Reign FC. Single-game and season tickets may be purchased by clicking here or by calling 773-698-6001.

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