September 6, 2017 10:37 pm

Edmonton soccer star Stephanie Labbé to sit out rest of season

Stephanie Labbé arrives home from the Rio 2016 Summer Games Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016.

Charles Taylor, Global News

Canadian international goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé is taking a medical leave of absence from the Washington Spirit for the remainder of the NWSL season.

Neither Labbé nor the soccer team gave a reason for the leave but Labbé has been candid in recent weeks about her struggle with depression.

“The decision was not an easy one, but after much deliberation we have concluded that this is what’s best for me at this time,” Labbé said in a short social media post.

Labbé, who helped Canada to a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, has started 17 games this season for the Spirit.

READ MORE: Olympic bronze medallist Stephanie Labbé greeted with cheers at Edmonton International Airport

Watch below: On Aug. 23, 2016, Quinn Phillips was there when women’s soccer bronze medallist Stephanie Labbé was greeted with cheers at the Edmonton International Airport after the Olympics in Rio.

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“Steph has been an important part of our team the past two seasons and has grown and developed as a player and person,” Jim Gabarra, Washington’s head coach and GM, said in a statement Wednesday.

“We have had discussions over the last couple of weeks and believe she needs some additional time away. We support and will continue to support Steph throughout this process.”

In an August interview with The Associated Press, Labbé said she chose to be upfront about her battle with depression, not just to help others but to help herself as well.

“I wanted people to see I am human, I do have troubles and things don’t always come easy,” she said. “You don’t become an Olympic medallist overnight and even after you do become an Olympian it doesn’t make everything go away and you have this perfect life.”

The 30-year-old from Edmonton has won 44 caps for Canada.

Watch below: On Aug. 25, 2016, Laurel Gregory spoke to Stephanie Labbé after she got home from her third Olympics.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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