Taylor Cummings Announces Retirement from U.S. Women's National Team


Taylor Cummings was chosen by U.S. teammate Emma Trenchard to carry the U.S. flag onto the field before the gold medal game against Canada.

The Johnny Unitas Stadium locker room was silent before the U.S. women’s national team’s gold-medal game when Emma Trenchard held up the American flag and started talking about the player that inspired a generation. 

As was customary on this U.S. team, Trenchard, who carried the flag onto the field for the semifinals, had to honor of giving it to another one. She knew exactly who she’d choose. 

“She is not just an inspiration to little girls out there, but to all of us,” Trenchard said of Taylor Cummings. “She embodies everything it means to be a great teammate and leader. She is a lot of the reason, over the past five years, we are where we are today.” 

Cummings grabbed the flag, tears in her eyes, and led her team onto the field, where the U.S. would soon win the gold medal. The victory over Canada on July 9 had a sense of finality for Cummings, a potential conclusion to one of the most storied careers in the sport’s history. 

The two-time gold medalist confirmed via Instagram on Friday that she is retiring from the U.S. national team program, two weeks after she took home Tournament MVP honors from the World Lacrosse Women’s Championship. 

Cummings tallied 10 goals, seven assists and 26 draw controls in her final world championship, boosting her career totals to 21 goals, 12 assists and a national team record 56 draw controls. She came to the U.S. program as one of the most decorated collegiate athletes of all-time and left a lasting impression in both 2017 and 2022. 

“I didn’t know where this game was going to take me,” Cummings said. “I didn’t even really have a dream to be on the U.S. team until I was a sophomore in college. I just never thought it was possible. This World Cup has always been that checkpoint for me where I could participate in it and then make a decision. I sit here nine years later about to retire and I’m amazed.”

With her wedding in the near future and a dream to build a family, Cummings felt this was the right time to step away.

“I’m ready to explore the next chapter and see what it’s like for me,” she said. “I know the sacrifices that have to be made to play at this elite of a level. I’m ready to explore not even just sacrifices by myself, but by my family, by my fiance, by my friends.”

Although Cummings did not rule out returning to Athletes Unlimited in future seasons — she’s not on the roster for Season 2 after winning the inaugural championship in Season 1 — this announcement could mean the end of one of the most storied careers in lacrosse history.  

The product of the McDonogh (Md.) powerhouse, Cummings burst onto the scene with Maryland women’s lacrosse in 2013, earning All-American honors with 57 points and 94 draw controls. She became one of the leaders on offense in an epic double-overtime national title game that year, dropping four points and grabbing five draw controls. 

Her fearless attitude was clear from her first season at Maryland and continued throughout her career. 

“Since I was younger, I lived and breathed by the risks I took on the field,” she said. “I’m really lucky that I had coaches that saw that in me and didn’t try to pull me back. When I got to U.S., my first couple years my confidence took a self-imposed hit. Learning to play with the best and gaining the belief in yourself that you deserve to be there is hard. Once it clicked for me, I got back to that style of taking risks and didn’t look back.”

Cummings routinely trained with U.S. national team strength & conditioning coach Jay Dyer, arriving at 6 a.m. and working out as the sun rose over USA Lacrosse headquarters. No drill was too difficult, and she gained a reputation for learning quickly.

“During her training, there would be other athletes around,” Dyer said. “Sometimes she’d be doing something that was pretty challenging and she’d be just talking to me through it. Some of the athletes would comment on it later. They’re like, ‘I can barely focus on how much this exercise sucks and she’s sitting there having a full-blown conversation with you while she’s doing it.’”

The next three years helped cement Cummings’ place in lacrosse history. She won three consecutive Tewaaraton Awards, becoming the first person in the sport’s history to do so. She was the NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player in both 2014 and 2015, leading Maryland to back-to-back national titles.  

Cummings finished her college career with 229 goals, 94 assists and 509 draw controls, leaving many to label her the best to ever play college lacrosse. 

“From 2012, when we got to College Park as nervous freshmen, to last week, I’ve watched in awe as Taylor has truly done it all,” said Alice Mercer, her teammate at both Maryland and with the U.S. national team. “She’s a great teammate, role model and advocate. She is truly a one-of-a-kind player and person. She makes the people around her better by challenging them to step up and lifting them up and bringing them along with her.”

After graduating from Maryland in 2016, Cummings set out to raise the profile of women’s lacrosse across the country. She joined the WPLL and Athletes Unlimited — all women’s professional leagues — and became the most recognizable face in women’s lacrosse. 

She ran camps and clinics, founded Taylor Cummings Lacrosse and regularly appeared on ESPN lacrosse broadcasts as an analyst. 

She also became outspoken on the representation of women’s lacrosse across media platforms. Cummings is one of the leading voices in a movement that has helped women’s lacrosse reach record numbers on linear broadcasts, including the NCAA championship and gold-medal games on ESPN2.  

It’s a passion that won’t soon go away for Cummings, even if she steps away from the field. 

“Our collective voices helped get games on ESPN for world championships, so that all nations had games streaming,” she said. “There’s more work to be done. We’re in a better spot now than we were, which is great. We’re going to be able to change this game for the better, and it’s going to be a better experience than what we’ve had in the past.”

In 2022, Cummings had the feeling that the World Lacrosse Women’s Championship would be the end of the road. After the buzzer sounded, she grabbed her teammate, Kayla Treanor — the player she played against throughout her college career and with whom she will always be grouped. Together, the two greatest players of their generation, now teammates, enjoyed a moment that they’ll both remember forever.

The two stars had met at Johnny Unitas Stadium in 2012 during the Under Armour All-American Game. They battled it out in the 2014 NCAA title game on the same field. Finally, Cummings and Treanor could celebrate at Towson together.

“I’ve always admired her. I’ve always looked up to her,” Cummings said. “She is the kind of leader I want to be. We grew up together, and we always found comfort in coming back to U.S. because we were able to play with each other. I get to tell my future kids that I played with probably the best player of all time. I was just really grateful to have gone through this with her."

Treanor said the same thing about her teammate. The respect between Cummings and Treanor was always there.

“I’ve always wanted to thank Taylor, because without her I know I would never be the player I am today,” Treanor said. “For my entire lacrosse career, I have had someone to chase. I am indebted to her because of that. She is one of the greatest athletes I have ever gotten to know, and I am grateful for every moment with and against her.”

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