Dual sports star Erin Phillips will turn more of her attention to her AFLW career but remain available for the Australian Opals after announcing her retirement from the WNBA.
Phillips announced her retirement on Sunday after being waived by the Dallas Wings on May 10. Other clubs had several days to sign her but didn’t, so Phillips has called time on her US career
Phillips was the best and fairest player in the first season of AFLW, leading her Adelaide Crows to the inaugural premiership, and her retirement sees her able to spend more time on her football.
The 31-year-old won two WNBA championships and played nine seasons in the US league, a career that will sit highly among the Australians who have played in the WNBA.
Phillips had three steals in her last pre-season game for the Wings but she said she had started to consider her future in the US league due to the travel commitments required.
In a statement on the Crows website, Phillips said she would spend some time with wife Tracy and their twins.
“Most importantly, this gives me the first opportunity since last October to spend dedicated time with my young family at our home in Dallas,” Phillips said.
“After nine years, two titles and some great memories playing in the WNBA, I’ve now got the opportunity to start the next stage of my professional career in sport.
“I’ve loved every minute of my time with the Wings and want to thank them for their consideration and the professionalism they have shown throughout the process.”
Phillips told media in Australia she still drew most of her income from playing in the WNBA so her retirement could see her do more work to promote the AFLW or add more sponsors after becoming one of the faces of the fledgling women’s game.
Crows coach Bec Goddard praised Phillips and her decision.
“Erin is a fantastic leader who has made an immense impact across women’s sport, including the WNBA and AFLW,” Goddard said.
“On behalf of the club, we congratulate her on her successful time with the WNBA and thank the Dallas Wings for supporting her as she followed her dream to play football professionally.
“We’re looking forward to Erin returning to Adelaide in November and the physical break will no doubt benefit her body, allowing her to focus on potential future commitments with the Opals as well as the AFLW.”
The Wings play their first game of the WNBA season against the Phoenix Mercury on Monday morning. The Mercury have the league’s biggest Australian contingent with Leilani Mitchell, Cayla George and Stephanie Talbot on the roster while Sandy Brondello coaches the side and Penny Taylor works in player development.