Arsenal and Germany international winger Tabea Kemme has announced her retirement from professional football due to an ongoing knee injury, as reported by Arsenal official club sources earlier today.
The 28-year-old has been at Arsenal for 18 months, signing in July 2018 from German club Turbine Potsdam, however her recurring injury problems meant she only made three appearances for the club, all from the substitute’s bench.
After arriving in North London with a knee injury picked up while at Potsdam, she spent most of Arsenal’s title winning 2018/2019 season watching from the sidelines, unable to play a part. However, things were certainly looking up prior to the beginning of this season, and after extensive rehab, she was able to feature in Arsenal’s Emirates Cup loss to Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium. Despite only playing 45 minutes, her final minutes of professional football, Kemme has cited this game as one of the best memories from her career.
Due to further injury set-backs, Kemme has been unable to feature for club or country since then, but she has certainly remained a vital member of the Arsenal squad and an “important figure at the club”, as manager Joe Montemurro told Arsenal sources.
Prior to joining Arsenal, the versatile attacker, who is also more than capable of playing at full-back, had spent the whole of her professional career at German top-flight club Turbine Potsdam, having joined their youth setup as a teenager in 2006. She made 145 appearances for their senior side, scoring 24 goals before departing for Arsenal. In her 10 years with the club, she won the Frauen Bundesliga on four separate occasions, as well as the prestigious UEFA Women’s Champions League in the 2009/2010 season.
Kemme also enjoyed success internationally, having been a part of the German international set-up from Under-17 level onwards. She made her international debut as a 21-year-old in an 8-0 thrashing of Croatia and from there went on gain 47 international caps and score six goals. She was part of Germany’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 squad, as well as the team that travelled to the Rio Olympics in 2016, coming home with the gold medal. She played a key part in that tournament, starting and playing all 90 minutes in every game bar one. Kemme made her final appearance for Germany in 2018.
In a post on her personal Instagram account, Kemme shared the news and thanked everyone for their support, telling her followers that she had made the difficult decision “with tears but also joy”. She made it clear that despite her retirement, she is definitely looking forward to her future, saying “Now there are exciting times ahead for me. My new chapter has already begun.”
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Eine Entscheidung, die ich mit einem weinenden aber auch mit einem freudigen Auge getroffen habe. Nach 14 Jahren für mich sehr prägenden Leistungssport ist mir eine langwierige Knieverletzung zum Verhängnis geworden, Fußball auf dem Topniveau weiterhin nachzugehen. Dieses Kapitel hat nun mehr sein Ende gefunden. Auf mich wartet jetzt eine spannende Zeit! Dieser gehe ich freudig entgegen um mich neben dem Leistungssport neu zu orientieren und der Zukunft ein neues Kapitel zu geben. DANKE für dieses wundervolle Kapitel! Ich werde weitblickend und offen weiterziehen und mein Buch vollenden. A decision made with tears but also joy. After 14 years of competitive sport, which was very formative for me, a prolonged knee injury means I‘m unable to continue playing top-level football. This chapter has now ended. Now there are exciting times ahead for me. My new chapter has already begun. THANKS to everyone for this wonderful chapter! I will continue to move forward and complete my book.
The German international also spoke to DFB.de, discussing her relief having finally gained “clarity after two years of almost constant injuries and rehab” and revealing that “Not a day has gone by when I regretted this long journey.”
Though she unfortunately spent the majority of her time in North London on the treatment table, Arsenal sources emphasised just how important she was to the squad behind the scenes, wishing her well in her future. This sentiment was echoed by senior figures within the German National Team set-up, with DFB Vice President Hannelore Ratzeburg saying “I wish her all the best and would like to thank her for her contribution.”
Kemme will now return to her native Germany to continue her career in Potsdam’s police force, from which she took a two-year leave of absence in order to join Arsenal back in 2018.
By Lauren Coffman (@laurenjsport)