HARRISON, N.J. (AP) — Midfielder Sinead Farrelly, who represented the United States early in her career in youth soccer and Ireland later in the Women’s World Cup, is retiring because of cumulative head injuries sustained throughout her career.

The NJ/NY Gotham FC of the National Women’s Soccer League made the announcement Friday, hours after placing the 34-year-old on season-ending injury due to post-concussive syndrome that will require rehabilitation.

Farrelly made the decision after being told by a neurologist that continuing to play would leave her vulnerable to additional head injuries.

“I promise this ending is a gift, a blessing and just the beginning of something new,” Farrelly said in a statement. “I am so grateful that this insane chapter even existed at all, let alone end in such a way where I am feeling so fulfilled and at peace. This truly has been so special.”

This is the second time the University of Virginia product has retired. She left professional soccer in 2016 following a automobile accident and, eight years later, joined Gotham FC as a 2023 preseason training camp non-roster invitee. She earned her way onto the roster and signed a contract with the club in March, helping the team win the NWSL Championship.

Farrelly of Havertown, Pennsylvania, appeared in 23 games with nine starts and one assist. In the 2023 NWSL Playoffs, she appeared in every game. She also earned a spot on the Republic of Ireland National Team — her father was born in Ireland — for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and started all three games.

Farrelly previously played for Kansas City in the league’s inaugural season in 2013 and with the Portland Thorns in 2014 and 2015.

Farrelly was twice named a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top college soccer player. In her senior season, she had 12 goals and seven assists in 22 games. She represented the U.S. at all the levels up to U-23 but was never on the senior national team.

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