Chivas USA Captain Carlos Bocanegra Announces Retirement
The Red-and-White center back set to step down at the end of the 2014 Major League Soccer season
CARSON, Calif. (Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014) – Chivas USA and former U.S. Men’s National Team captain Carlos Bocanegra announced today his plans to retire at the conclusion of the current Major League Soccer season. A two-time FIFA World Cup veteran, the 35-year-old finishes a stellar 15-year professional career that saw him emerge as the USA’s all-time leading goal scorer among defenders with 14.
*NOTE: Bocanegra will be available via conference call tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 5 at 8:30 a.m. (PT). Please join in by calling 1-(605) 562-3131 for U.S. participants and 1-(605) 562-3115 for Canadian media and dialing access code 206999.
«I’m still hungry for the game and I want to play, but unfortunately you can’t play forever. I was thinking about this in the offseason, and it took me about six months to come to a final decision,» said Bocanegra. «The timing is right for me. I’ve known for a little while now in my mind and in my heart. I’m happy with it, and I’m looking forward to the new challenges.”
A native of Upland, Calif., Bocanegra joined Chivas USA for his second MLS stint from Spanish La Liga side Real Racing Club de Santander, S.A.D in July 2013, embracing a remarkable leadership role in the Red-and-White locker room. In his return to MLS, the center back started in 30 games for the Rojiblancos, logging 2,672 minutes.
“In many ways, Carlos was the quintessential American player of his generation,” stated Chivas USA President Nelson Rodriguez. “Effective, resilient, uncompromising, loyal, leader – all the attributes you would always associate with a winner and all the essential ingredients of a great captain.”
Bocanegra began his professional career with the Chicago Fire after being selected fourth overall out of UCLA in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft. He established himself immediately as a starter and was named MLS Rookie of the Year. Bocanegra would go on to earn back-to-back MLS Defender of the Year honors in 2002 and 2003, while helping the club reach the 2000 MLS Cup Championship as well as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup finals in 2000 and 2003.
In January of 2004, the U.S. international made the jump to Europe, becoming an instant addition to English Premier League club Fulham FC’s backline. In his four years with the London side, Bocanegra appeared in a total of 133 games, scoring eight goals while becoming one of the few USMNT captains to wear both his club’s and National Team’s armband simultaneously.
After his stint in the EPL, the left-sided defender moved on to the French Ligue 1, where he played for Stade Rennes Football Club (2008-10) and AS Saint Étienne (2010-12). Bocanegra then signed with Scotland’s Rangers FC before concluding nearly a decade in European soccer with Racing Santander.
A local U.S. Men’s National Team product, Bocanegra was a member of the USMNT U-20 squad that participated in the 1999 World Youth Championship in Nigeria and the U-23 1999 Pan-American Bronze Medalists.
The defender made his National Team debut against South Korea on Dec. 9, 2003, and with 110 career appearances, became the 12th U.S. player to surpass the 100-game mark.
A critical leader both on and off the field, he led the National Team’s backline in two FIFA World Cups (Germany 2006; South Africa 2010), a Confederations Cup (South Africa 2009) and to four Gold Cup Finals (2002; ’07; ’09; ’11), where the U.S. twice came away champions (2002; ’07).
Bocanegra and Chivas USA will now travel to Columbus, Ohio, where they will face their third match in eight days as they battle Eastern Conference side Columbus Crew beginning at noon (PT) on Sunday at Crew Stadium.The interconference meeting will be televised nationally on UniMás and in the Los Angeles area on KDOC TV LA-56. The action can also be heard on ESPN Deportes Radio KWKU 1220 AM. For more information follow the club on Twitter and Facebook.