Lindsey Horan has no regrets about her chosen path to the U.S. women’s soccer team.

Horan, a 21-year-old midfielder, made the decision to skip college soccer and play professionally overseas for several years. Although it’s fairly common for men – Landon Donovan is one of many elite players who bypassed college – it’s nearly unheard of for women.

Now back stateside, Horan is diplomatic when it comes to her choice, which might become more common for women with the expansion of the U.S. development system.

“I just think it was the best first for me,” Horan said. “It’s not for everyone but with my style of play and where I was at, at the time, I think going to play professionally suited me and I don’t regret anything at all.”

Growing up in Colorado, Horan was a prodigy who joined her club team before she was a teenager, eventually forgoing her high school team.

She also was a standout on the U.S. youth national teams, scoring 15 goals in 17 appearances with the under-17 team. She helped the under-20 team reach that level’s World Cup in 2012 but missed the tournament because of knee surgery.


Horan was among the top college prospects and was offered a scholarship by North Carolina. Instead she surprised many by taking a reported six-figure deal to play in France for Paris Saint-Germain.

She didn’t even know French.

“It was just what I’d wanted in my heart,” she said. “I’d dreamed of playing professionally since I was 15; that’s the route I took.”

With PSG, Horan scored 53 goals in 75 appearances from 2012-15. The club released her in January of this year so she could return to the United States – a move making it possible for Horan to try and earn a spot on the Olympic team.

After making her national team debut in 2013, Horan was called up by Coach Jill Ellis for matches following the World Cup last summer. She then made the team’s Olympic qualifying roster, and the United States played its way to Rio at the CONCACAF qualifying tourney last month in Texas.

Ellis has moved Horan from her traditional role at striker to center midfield as the team adjusts to the absence of Lauren Holiday, who retired at the end of last year. Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx and Laurie Chalupny also retired, giving opportunity to younger players.

“Horan says she’s been approached by other young women asking her opinion on going pro early. She tries to present both sides, emphasizing that her choice isn’t for everyone. It just worked for her.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.