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Kristine Lilly, Local Soccer Legend, Retires

A local legend is hanging it up after a stellar career. Kristine Lilly, likely the most famous athlete produced by Wilton, announced on her website Wednesday morning that she will retire from soccer at the club and international level after a 16-year professional career.

"It is time," Lilly said on her website. "I may be retiring from the game of soccer, but the game of soccer will never leave me. It has been a most amazing journey and one that started when I was 6 yrs old in my small town of Wilton, CT."

A 1989 graduate of Wilton High School, Lilly gained fame as a part of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic teams in 1996 and 2004 and the silver medal-winning team in 2000. Lilly made her 300th international appearance in 2006 in a game in Norway, setting a record for women and men. She is ranked second all-time for women with 130 goals scored. She is the youngest and oldest woman to score a goal for Team USA .

Lilly played for the U.S. national team as young as 15. She won the NCAA national championship all four years she played with the University of North Carolina. She broke into professional soccer in 1994 with Tyresö FF in Sweden but soon returned to promote the game in her home country. Lilly was a captain and founding member of the Boston Breakers in the inaugural season of the Women's United Soccer Association.

Lilly now lives in Brookline, Mass., with her husband and daughter. Lilly returns to Wilton every summer for the Kristine Lilly Soccer Academy, teaching children ages 8 to 18 the fundamentals of soccer. Lilly used much of her statement on her website to recognize all of those who have followed and supported her career.

"I want to thank all the fans and my family for the support [they] have given me," Lilly said. "From cheering for me in the stands, watching and yelling at the TV, to the nice emails I have gotten from so many of [them] throughout the years."

Do you have any memories of Kristine Lilly? What does she mean to Fairfield County? Start the discussion below!

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