Goalkeeper Chris Hubbard has elected to retire from professional soccer with the 2021 season finished, concluding a career that stretches back to Louisville City FC’s beginnings.
The Trinity High School graduate initially spent summers training with the boys in purple while home from the University of Notre Dame. He then signed with the club in 2018 and went on to play a key role between the posts.
Hubbard started both as LouCity advanced to the 2019 USL Championship Final and again this year when the team made a repeat Eastern Conference Final appearance.
“It’s a combination of a few things,” Hubbard said of his retirement. “One is my health — my knee. When I underwent surgery a few years ago, they removed a little bit of cartilage, and we knew it wasn’t going to be a lasting solution. I want to have good mobility and health outside of soccer.”
Personally, Hubbard is also entering new phases. He’s planning a December 2022 wedding with his fiancé, Victoria, who’s a lawyer set to relocate to Colorado for work this spring. Hubbard will follow while looking to put his Notre Dame degree to work.
“I want to be on the front lines helping address issues related to climate change,” he said. “It’s something I’m really passionate about. COVID-19 quarantine made me an avid reader, and that’s something that the more I learned about it, the more I wanted to help.”
Hubbard retires having made 129 saves in 52 USL Championship appearances. Thirteen of those games resulted in clean sheets, including three straight shutouts toward the end of the 2021 season. LouCity won the Central Division as a result and advanced to the USL Championship’s national semifinal round for a seventh straight year.
“We are thankful for Chris and everything that he has given this club and community," said LouCity head coach Danny Cruz. "He has played an important role in the success of this club over the last few years, and I will miss having him in the locker room every day. With all of that being said, I am excited for what the future holds for Chris. He is a bright-minded, hard-working individual and there is no doubt in my mind that he will continue to achieve."
“We thank Chris for his valuable contributions to our club and organization through the years,” added goalkeeper coach Scott Budnick. “We are happy for Chris in taking this step and know he will be successful in his future endeavors whatever they may be.”
Hubbard emerged as a pro prospect after a decorated career at Trinity, where he was a four-year varsity starter and Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year. With the Fighting Irish he regularly made the ACC Academic Honor Roll and captained his side in 2017 as a senior.
“I want to thank Chris and his family for allowing me to be part of their lives for more than a decade,” said Thabane Sutu, LouCity’s first-ever goalkeeper coach. Sutu has coached Hubbard from some of his earliest days between the posts, with Hubbard likening the mentor to “a second father” upon his 2018 signing with the boys in purple.
“Little did I know that what started as a tryout for United 1996 FC would develop into a lifelong friendship,” Sutu added. “It must have been a proud moment for Chris and his family to represent his hometown team, Louisville City. Congratulations on a job well done. I can’t wait to see what path Chris takes, and I’m sure he’ll be just as successful in whatever he sets out to do.”