The Washington Spirit announced today that starting goalkeeper, Stephanie Labbé, will miss the rest of the season on medical leave. It came as a surprise for many and adds another to the long list of players the Spirit are missing due to injury as the season reaches its ending.
Both the Spirit and Labbé have decided that this is a necessary step for the goalkeeper
In a statement posted on her social media, Labbé announced that though it was a difficult decision to make, she would be taking a medical leave of absence for the remainder of the National Women's Soccer League season. The goalkeeper went on to add that the decision was "not an easy one" but after many discussions, it was what was best for her and team moving forward.
Head coach and Spirit GM, Jim Gabarra, also gave a few words to the club's official website. He stated that Labbé had been "an important part" of the team over the past two season and had "grown and developed as a player and a person." Gabarra concluded that the rest was necessary for and that the club would support throughout the process.
Labbé's talent will be missed by the Spirit
Although the Washington Spirit sit at the bottom of the table, Labbé has been a standout performer for them. She started 17 games this season and picked up two shutouts in that period. Her standard of play earned her NWSL Team of the Month honors in May and June, and she was also awarded the NWSL Save of the Week in Week 11.
The extent of Labbé's injury is still largely unknown but her presence both on the field and in the locker room will be missed by the Spirit as they try to finish the season strongly. The Spirit have three more games to see out without Labbé, one away and two at home, finishing against Seattle Reign FC on the last day of the season. The task of getting at least a point from those games has become harder not only with their recent player injuries but now with the future absence of Labbé.
Quotes via Washingtonspirit.com