ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 18, 2023) — Orlando Pride forward Darian Jenkins has retired from professional soccer, the forward and Club announced today, bringing her six-year career to a close.
“After 21 years of playing, I have decided that it’s time for me to hang up my boots and step away from the beautiful game. My body and mind are ready for the next chapter. This isn’t an easy decision, but being able to retire on my own terms has given me peace. I know I’ve given everything I can to the game on and off the field, and feel proud of myself with how much I overcame in each phase of my career,” Jenkins said. “Thank you to the amazing people I have had the pleasure to work with during my career - my coaches, teammates, my agency and most importantly, the fans. You have helped make me into the confident and determined woman I am today. And a special thank you to my Pride girlies, I’m happy to have ended it in purple with you all and everything we overcame. It’s been such an amazing experience and one I’ll miss immensely.”
Jenkins, 28, joined the Pride ahead of the 2022 season, going on to make 23 appearances across all competitions with four goals and two assists. Both of Jenkins’ regular season tallies came in important moments, the first a 98th-minute equalizer on May 27 against Washington that, at the time, clocked as the latest goal in regular-season history. Just a week later, Jenkins came through in the clutch again, scoring a thrilling tying goal at the historic DAYTONA International Speedway in the Pride’s match as part of Daytona SoccerFest.
“Darian is an incredible player, professional and teammate, and we are going to deeply miss her here in Orlando. She’s a player who represented the values of our crest, both on and off the field, and we are lucky to have had her in purple,” Pride Head Coach Seb Hines said. “It’s never easy to see a player step away from the game but, having been in this position before, I’m happy that she is at peace and excited to start the next chapter of her life. On behalf of everyone at the Club, our fans, and our community, we thank her for being part of our history and wish her nothing but the best in what comes next.”
A native of Riverton, Utah, Jenkins joined the NWSL as the No. 7 overall selection in the 2017 NWSL College Draft by the North Carolina Courage. Prior to arriving in Orlando, Jenkins spent time in the NWSL with the Courage, OL Reign and Kansas City Current, as well as overseas stints with Australia’s Melbourne Victory and France’s Bordeaux.
Jenkins finishes her NWSL career with 83 total appearances, 11 goals and three assists.
At the collegiate level, Jenkins was an integral part of UCLA’s 2013 Championship winning team, leading the team in scoring during her freshman year and earning All-Pac-12 honors in three of her four seasons. Jenkins also appeared for the U.S. at the U-17, U-18 and U-23 levels, tallying six caps and two goals across all youth teams.