A few days after bringing the curtain down on 12 years of playing in Germany, Lehigh Valley native Gina Lewandowski signed with Sky Blue FC on Tuesday.
Lewandowski, 34, moved to Germany in 2007 after growing up in Coopersburg and graduating from Lehigh. She joined 1. FFC Frankfurt a few weeks before future U.S. national team star Ali Krieger did the same. The two players helped Frankfurt win a treble of trophies in the spring of 2008: the Bundesliga, the German Cup and the UEFA Women’s Cup, the predecessor to the Champions League.
Though Lewandowski wasn’t as well known in the U.S. as Krieger, she made a name for herself in Frankfurt and stayed there for four years.
When Lewandowski’s contract expired in 2011, she came back to the U.S. to play one summer for the Western New York Flash. She returned to Germany after that to rejoin Frankfurt for one season, then moved to Bayern Munich in 2012 and stayed for seven years.
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As Bayern started to elevate its women’s team alongside its internationally-famous men’s team, Lewandowski was able to reap the results. Bayern won the Bundesliga in 2015 and 2016, then reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League in 2017 and reached the semifinals of the Champions League this year.
Along the way, Lewandowski earned her only ever U.S. national team cap in a November 2015 friendly. She was part of a few camps in 2016, but never saw any game action.
In late April, Bayern announced that Lewandowski was leaving to return to America and live closer to her family. Over the weekend, she posted a farewell message on Instagram.
But it wasn’t quite clear whether Lewandowski was fully retiring. Now we know the answer. She won’t play for Sky Blue in Saturday’s home game against the Washington Spirit, though, because she won’t come over until after Bayern’s season officially ends Saturday. She might debut in Sky Blue’s game at suburban Seattle-based Reign FC on May 18, or the next weekend when Sky Blue hosts the Portland Thorns.
“I am really excited to be coming back to the U.S. and to have the opportunity to play closer to home,” Lewandowski said in a statement issued by the team. “The league has developed immensely the last few years and I am looking forward to playing professionally in the U.S. again and being a part of its continued growth."