Christine Nairn – Wikipedia

American soccer player

Christine Marie Nairn (born September 25, 1990) is an American retired soccer player from Annapolis, Maryland.[3] She previously played for the Houston Dash, Orlando Pride, Washington Spirit and Seattle Reign FC in the NWSL and has had regular loan spells with Melbourne Victory in the Australian W-League. She has represented the United States at senior level as well at numerous youth levels. In 2008, she helped the under-20 national team win gold at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile. Nairn announced her retirement from professional soccer on September 18, 2021, in order to pursue a career as a professional firefighter with the Houston Fire Department.

Early life[edit]

Born in Annapolis, Maryland to parents Tommy and Danamarie Nairn, Christine attended Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn, Maryland where she was all-time leader in assists, goals and points from 2004–2007 and was a four-time Parade All-American. Besides excelling in soccer, she played four years of varsity basketball in high school. She was a National Honor Society member and graduated with Dean’s List honors.[4]

Nairn was a three-time All-State selection, an NSCAA/adidas All-American from 2005–08, and the Gatorade Maryland State Player of the Year from 2005–07. She was named Player of the Year by The Washington Post and was an NSCAA/adidas All-South Region selection from 2005–2007.[4][5]

Nairn started playing soccer when she was just four years old competing against her older brothers, Kevin and TJ, in her backyard. After her club coach, Pat Noel, encouraged her to go to an Olympic Development Program (ODP) tryout at age nine, she was accepted in the program. Nairn credits the Maryland ODP program as a very important contributor for her national recognition achievements.[6]

Nairn played club soccer with the Freestate Shooters U-18 team, which won the WAGS Championship and Maryland State Cup in 2004 and the U.S. Club Soccer Championship in 2007. She was also a four-year captain for the Region I Olympic Development Program (ODP) team and won the 2006 Regional ODP National Championship.[4]

In January 2008, during her senior year in high school, Nairn was called up to the United States women’s national soccer team and was the youngest member to attend training camp. The same year, Soccer Buzz named her the number three recruit in the country.[4]

Penn State, 2009–2012[edit]

Nairn attended Pennsylvania State University from 2009–2012 and majored in Communications. During her freshman year, she started in all but two games as the team’s central midfielder. She scored seven goals and led the team in assists at ten. Nairn recorded three assists in a 4–0 win over then-number 22 Purdue University on November 1 setting a new freshman record and second most in a game. She tallied a point in 10 of 12 games from September 13 to November 1. Nairn earned unanimous All-Big Ten Conference First Team, Big Ten Freshman of the Year and All-Freshman Team honors and was named Rookie of the Year. She was twice named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on October 5 and November 2 and was named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List.[4]

As a sophomore, Nairn scored 7 goals and provided 6 assists for 20 points. She was named to the All-Big Ten First Team and NSCAA All-Great Lakes First Team. She started in all 21 games in central midfield leading the team in shots at 73. She scored the second-fastest goal in Penn State history, a strike 63 seconds into the match at the University of Connecticut on September 5. Nairn notched penalty-kick goals in games against the University of Portland, Michigan State University, and Northwestern University. She was named team MVP and to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) First-Team All-Star squad.[4]

During her junior year with the Nittany Lions, Nairn started in 24 of 25 matches in attacking midfield. She tallied three goals and 13 assists for 19 points, earning NSCAA All-American Second Team honors for a second straight year. She garnered All-Big Ten and NSCAA All-Great Lake First Team honors for a third straight year. She tallied assists at Pittsburgh, UCF, and Virginia, capping a four-game point streak and assisted game-winners vs. Ohio State and Michigan State. Nairn provided the assist on Penn State’s lone goal in the Big Ten Final against Illinois and scored a dramatic 85th-minute game-winner against Army in the NCAA First Round. Nairn also tallied two assists in a 4–1 victory over number 12 Marquette in the NCAA Second Round.[4]

As a senior in 2012, Nairn earned her first ever Big Ten Midfielder of the Year and first team NSCAA All-American honor. She finished her career with the second highest number of all-time assists in program history and doubled her career goal total (second highest in the conference) with 17 goals. She was one of two players in the 2012 College Cup with double-digit goals and assists. Nairn scored an exciting golden goal against Florida State in the national semifinals.[7]

In 2013, Nairn was one of three finalists for the Hermann Trophy coming in second to University of North Carolina midfielder and future Washington Spirit teammate, Crystal Dunn.[8]

Club career[edit]

W-League: Washington Freedom Futures and DC United Women, 2010–11[edit]

In 2010, Nairn played for the Washington Freedom Futures in the W-League. In 2011, Nairn signed with D.C. United Women in the W-League.[9][10] She made four appearances, scoring three goals and providing one assist notching seven points for the season.[11] She scored twice in a game against the New York Magic leading the team to its first win in franchise history.[12]

ASA Chesapeake Charge, 2012[edit]

In 2012, she played for the NCAA-compliant semi-professional club, ASA Chesapeake Charge, in WPSL Elite. She played in three games and scored one goal.[13]

Seattle Reign FC, 2013, 2017[edit]

On January 18, 2013, Nairn was drafted to the Seattle Reign FC as the seventh pick (first round) of the 2013 NWSL Draft.[14][15] On her signing, Nairn said, “It’s a great opportunity, like I said before, to represent Seattle and where I’ve come from – Penn State, and all the teams I played for before. To represent them on a professional stage is a dream come true. I’m excited to get to work.”[16] Nairn scored the first regular season goal for the Reign during the team’s first league match against Chicago Red Stars on April 14, 2013 with a diving header on a cross from forward, Liz Bogus.[17] Nairn led the team in assists and was a leading-scorer. She finished the regular season with five assists and three goals.[18] Nairn returned to the Reign for the 2017 NWSL season. She appeared in all 23 matches, having 21 stars.[19]

Washington Spirit, 2014–2016[edit]

On November 20, 2013 the Seattle Reign traded Nairn to the Washington Spirit for the discovery rights to Scottish international Kim Little.[20] In 2014, she scored six goals and took 52 out of 76 corner kicks for the Spirit. In 2015, Nairn scored five goals and recorded two assists. In her third year with the team, the midfielder was voted Spirit MVP for her contributions to the first ever NWSL Championship appearance for the Spirit. She played every match for the Spirit in 2016, starting 18 in the regular season and both post season matches, and scored three goals. Her goal against the Houston Dash on August 18 earned her the NWSL Goal of the Week honors in Week 16. Nairn’s most memorable assist of the season came in the semifinal on Francisca Ordega’s game winning goal to send the Spirit to the NWSL Championship.[21]

Melbourne Victory, 2014–[edit]

In September 2014, Nairn went on loan to the Melbourne Victory for the 2014 W-League season.[22][23] She returned for the 2015-16 season and 2016-17 season. After taking a season off she returned to the Victory for her fourth loan spell with the club in the 2018-19 W-League season.[24] She won the W-League Premiership in 2018-19. She subsequently received the Julie Dolan Medal, becoming the first international player to receive Australia’s W-League player of the year award.[23]

Orlando Pride 2018[edit]

Nairn joined the Orlando Pride alongside Carson Pickett, in a deal that sent Steph Catley to Seattle. During her first season with the Pride she made 20 appearances, of which 13 were starts. She finished the season tied second in assists alongside Marta. She also won the NWSL goal of the week in Week 7 of the season. Her contract option for the 2019 season was exercised.[25]

Houston Dash 2019–[edit]

On February 26, 2019, Nairn was traded to the Houston Dash for exchange for an international slot and draft picks.[26][27]

International career[edit]

Nairn played for the United States U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-20 teams from 2004 to 2010. She played in all six games for the team that won the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile.[28]

She has played twice for the United States women’s national soccer team, both against Canada during summer of 2009, debuting on 25 May in Toronto in a 4–0 win, then scoring the winning goal in a 1–0 victory on July 22 in Charleston, South Carolina.[28]

International goals[edit]

Key (expand for notes on “international goals” and sorting)
Location Geographic location of the venue where the competition occurred
Sorted by country name first, then by city name
Lineup Start – played entire match
on minute (off player) – substituted on at the minute indicated, and player was substituted off at the same time

off minute (on player) – substituted off at the minute indicated, and player was substituted on at the same time
(c) – captain
Sorted by minutes played

Min The minute in the match the goal was scored. For list that include caps, blank indicates played in the match but did not score a goal.
Assist/pass The ball was passed by the player, which assisted in scoring the goal. This column depends on the availability and source of this information.
penalty or pk Goal scored on penalty-kick which was awarded due to foul by opponent. (Goals scored in penalty-shoot-out, at the end of a tied match after extra-time, are not included.)
Score The match score after the goal was scored.
Sorted by goal difference, then by goal scored by the player’s team
Result The final score.

Sorted by goal difference in the match, then by goal difference in penalty-shoot-out if it is taken, followed by goal scored by the player’s team in the match, then by goal scored in the penalty-shoot-out. For matches with identical final scores, match ending in extra-time without penalty-shoot-out is a tougher match, therefore precede matches that ended in regulation

aet The score at the end of extra-time; the match was tied at the end of 90′ regulation
pso Penalty-shoot-out score shown in parenthesis; the match was tied at the end of extra-time
Light-purple background color – exhibition or closed door international friendly match

NOTE: some keys may not apply for a particular football player

Personal life[edit]

In 2017, Nairn came out as gay on her personal blog, “Finding my Euphoria”.[30] In her post “What Even is Normal” she stated:

“I am done with living a life that is acceptable to someone else’s standards of “normal”. As a female, it is not “normal” to prioritize your life around a sport. I do. It is not “normal” to only live in an area for 6 months because you have to go to your next season. I do. It is not “normal” to miss holidays with the family because you are playing soccer. I do. It is not “normal” to be gay. I am. It’s not “normal” to not know what you want to do with your life. I don’t. The list goes on and on, but it shouldn’t matter because what even is normal?”[31]

Melbourne Victory

Houston Dash

United States U20


See also[edit]


  1. ^ “FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010 – List of Players: USA” (PDF). FIFA. April 27, 2011. p. 16. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2022.
  2. ^ Graham, Glenn (August 9, 2013). “Seattle Reign’s Christine Nairn ready to play in ‘home away from home’. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  3. ^ “Dash MF Christine Nairn announces retirement | Houston Dynamo”. houstondynamofc. Archived from the original on September 16, 2021. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g “Christine Nairn player profile”. Pennsylvania State University. Archived from the original on October 25, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  5. ^ “Fall 2006 All-Met”. Washington Post. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  6. ^ “Christine Nairn: Maryland ODP To National Team Player”. Maryland State Youth Soccer Association. Archived from the original on February 19, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  7. ^ “Christine Nairn’s goal saves Penn State’s season”. Penn State University. Archived from the original on February 17, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  8. ^ “Nairn Heads to St. Louis for MAC Hermann Trophy Presentation”. Penn State University. Archived from the original on March 25, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  9. ^ “U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Christine Nairn signs with D.C. United Women”. DC United Women. Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  10. ^ “Nairn joins D.C. United Women”. Equalizer Soccer. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  11. ^ “2011 DC United Women Stats”. USL Soccer. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  12. ^ “D.C. United Women Surge Past New York 3–0”. DC United Women. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  13. ^ “ASA Chesapeake Charge 2012 roster”. WPSL. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  14. ^ “2013 NWSL College Draft: Reign FC picks U.S.-Capped Christine Nairn, 3 Others”. Sounder at Heart. January 18, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  15. ^ “NWSL Draft: 1st Round”. US Soccer. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  16. ^ “A stop and chat with Reign FC’s top draft pick, midfielder Christine Nairn”. Seattle Times. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  17. ^ “Red Stars, Reign FC end even in opener”. Equalizer Soccer. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  18. ^ “Christine Nairn”. Soccer Way. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  19. ^ “Christine Nairn | Orlando City Soccer Club”. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  20. ^ “NWSL’s Washington Spirit trades for Spalding grad Nairn”. Baltimore Sun. Retrieved December 25, 2013.
  21. ^ sambishopcws (August 4, 2016). “Christine Nairn: A Grounded Leader on the Pitch”.
  22. ^ “Midfielder Christine Nairn Melbourne Victory’s final international”. The Women’s. September 2, 2014.
  23. ^ a b “Melbourne Victory signs third American”. Football Federation Victoria. September 2, 2014.
  24. ^ “Victory signs Orlando Pride duo”. October 16, 2018.
  25. ^ “Nairn Takes Top Honours at Dolan Warren”. May 13, 2019.
  26. ^ “Dash acquire MF Christine Nairn in trade with Orlando Pride”. February 26, 2019.
  27. ^ “Dash MF Christine Nairn announces retirement”. houstondynamofc. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  28. ^ a b c “Christine Nairn player profile”. US Soccer. Archived from the original on March 13, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  29. ^ “U.S. Women Defeat Canada 1–0 To Sweep Three-Game Summer Series”. U.S.Soccer. Archived from the original on April 25, 2012.
  30. ^ Buzinski, Jim (December 11, 2017). “Pro soccer player Christine Nairn comes out as gay on her blog”. Outsports. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  31. ^ “Pro soccer player Christine Nairn comes out as gay on her blog”. December 11, 2017.
  32. ^ “Nairn and Dennis Win NWSL Challenge Cup Championship”. Penn State Athletics. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  33. ^ “Nairn Helps Lead U.S. to CONCACAF U-20 Finals, FIFA World Cup Berth”. Penn State Athletics. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  34. ^ “Melbourne Victory’s Christine Nairn wins Julie Dolan Medal at Dolan Warren Awards”. MyFootball. May 13, 2019. Retrieved December 2, 2022.

External links[edit]