Player's Own Voice

Player's Own Voice podcast: Stephanie Labbé reflects on 30 years in 30 minutes

The Player's Own Voice podcast catches up with veteran soccer star and gold-medal winning Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé on the eve of her surprise retirement announcement.

Canadian goal keeper reflects on career, looks ahead to arrival of women's pro league

Canada's Stephanie Labbé joined CBC Sports' Player's Own Voice podcast to discuss her long on-field career and what she intends to do following her retirement announcement. (Rui Vieira/The Associated Press)

Shortly before Stephanie Labbé dropped a surprise retirement notice on the soccer world, the Canadian national goalie and Olympic champion hunkered down with Player's Own Voice podcast host Anastasia Bucsis to talk through her motivations, historic career and future plans.

It's kind of a minor matter, but first thing many people want to know about is that remarkable, disarming smile on her face as she braced for Swedish penalty kick takers, with Olympic gold on the line in Tokyo.

Labbé says the moment was pure joy, with a little bit of gaming thrown in — just to give the Swedes something to think about.

But if Labbé was doing exactly what she loves most, why is she doffing the gloves so soon afterward?

When it's time ... you know.

And she did. 20 years on the national team, 13 years a pro, 85 international caps and fresh Olympic gold hanging around her neck. As far as competition goes, Labbé has nothing left to prove to anyone.

But post-competition? Labbé's the first to say that sports are all she really knows, so she intends to remain in the mix somehow. And she says that one of the side benefits of Canada's historic Olympic win is that it has increased pressure for a professional women's league to finally come to this country.

It's hard to imagine Labbé won't be closely affiliated when that happens.

Like the CBC Sports' Player's Own Voice essay series, POV podcast lets athletes speak to Canadians about issues from a personal perspective. Labbe has written about her retirement plans here.

For a video version of this podcast, check out CBC Sports' YouTube channel. Transcripts are available for our hard of hearing audience. To listen to Steph Labbé, any of the guests from earlier episodes, and more Canadian athletes throughout the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, head to CBC Listen — or wherever you get your podcasts.

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