Washington Spirit forward Civana Kuhlmann will miss the remainder of the 2023 season after sustaining a season-ending injury to her knee. Kuhlmann was injured during training last week and sat out the Spirit’s July 8 match against San Diego Wave FC. The team confirmed on Wednesday that she will not return to playing this season, although she will remain with the club during her recovery.
Kuhlmann was selected by Washington as the 37th pick of the 2023 NWSL College Draft and was signed to a two-year contract with an option for 2025. She played in 7 regular season matches and started all 3 Challenge Cup matches for the team this year.
She began her college career at Stanford University where she was a two-time NCAA champion and three-time PAC-12 champion, scoring 20 goals and several game-winners. A torn ACL in 2019 and four resulting surgeries kept her off the field for the 2019 season, and after graduating in May 2022, she transferred to Colorado to play a season there and led her team with 12 goals and 6 assists.
Her fight to return to form during college makes yesterday’s news especially difficult. After being drafted, Kuhlmann told The District Press one of her goals for her first professional season was simply to enjoy it after several years when “playing hasn’t been a given for me.”
In addition to the personal tragedy, the loss of Kuhlmann will be felt by her team this season. With only 5 forwards on their roster and Trinity Rodman gone for the World Cup, the Spirit would have relied heavily on Kuhlmann over the next several weeks and in other international windows throughout the year.
Overall, this is terrible news, and we wish Civana a swift and easy recovery!