Canadian soccer star Lang to retire
One of Canada's brightest soccer stars is calling it quits.
Kara Lang, an eight-year veteran of the Canadian women's team, will officially announce her retirement from soccer on Wednesday afternoon, CBCSports.ca has learned.
Persistent knee problems have forced Lang, a 24-year old native of Oakville, Ont., to call an early end to her soccer career.
Lang tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in September 2009 while at UCLA — the exact same injury she suffered three years earlier and kept her from playing for the Bruins her entire sophomore season.
Lang's recovery from the second ACL injury took longer than expected and she recently admitted that she might have come back a little too early.
"So many players that I know had torn their ACLs and came back and fought through it. I just saw it as part of my journey. But then doing it a second time was a little harder, especially because it was the same knee," Lang told CBC Sports last year.
The premature retirement of Lang robs Canada of one of its most experienced and accomplished players as it prepares to compete in this summer's FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany.
Born in Calgary, Lang was a mainstay with the Canadian women's team ever since making her debut as a 15-year-old in a game versus Scotland on March 1, 2002. She scored her first two goals in her second match for Canada two days later against Wales.
Ever since, Lang has been one of Canada's most loyal servants, both at the youth and senior levels, winning plaudits for her poised play and versatility on the field — she starred as both a midfielder and forward for Canada.
Lang first caught the public's attention as a key member of the Canadian side that won a silver medal at the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in 2002.
In many ways, the 2002 tournament played in Edmonton was a watershed moment, as it launched the international careers of Lang and star Christine Sinclair, and led to increased popularity and interest in women's soccer as more and more Canadian girls began to take up the game.
Lang also played for the senior team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and helped Canada reach the semifinals of the 2003 Women's World Cup in the United States when she scored two goals in six games.
On the comeback trail following her second knee injury, Lang was used largely as a bench player by Canada at the recent CONACAF World Cup qualifying tournament in Mexico, although she did score in an 8-0 win over Guyana on Oct. 31.
The goal was her first for Canada since the 2008 Olympics, and the match marked her first start and 90-minute performance for the national team since July 2009.
Lang's final game for Canada was on Nov. 5, 2010, when she came on as a late substitute in the CONACAF World Cup qualifying tournament semifinals against Costa Rica.
In total, Lang scored 34 goals in 92 appearances for the Canadian senior team.
A standout at UCLA, Lang scored 17 goals in 24 games in her freshman year as the Bruins lost to the University of Portland, led by Sinclair, in the NCAA final. She graduated from UCLA last year with an undergraduate degree in history.
At the pro level, Lang played five seasons with Vancouver of the W-League, winning the 2004 league championship with the Whitecaps.