Veteran MLS goalkeeper William Hesmer, who was a starter on the Columbus Crew's 2008 MLS Cup championship team, has announced his retirement, according to the Crew's official website.
Hesmer, 31, missed all of last season with a hip injury that allowed Andy Gruenebaum to seize that Crew's starting role. He was selected by the LA Galaxy in the second phase of the MLS Re-Entry Draft in December, but he did not end up signing with the club -- Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told reporters last week he would not be joining the club -- and instead is pursuing a career away from the game.
Hesmer was drafted out of Wake Forest University by the Kansas City Wizards in 2004 but only appeared three times for the club before being selected by Toronto FC in the 2006 MLS Expansion Draft. He was promptly traded to Columbus, where he became an anchor in the back during the club's most successful era.
Hesmer holds multiple club goalkeeping records for Columbus, including clean sheets (41), wins (59) and games started (130). He also scored a late equalizer against Toronto FC in October 2010 to become the second goalkeeper in MLS to score a goal.
"The Crew and its fans took me in and treated me as if I was family from day one, and for that I am forever grateful," Hesmer wrote in a message to the Crew and the club's supporters. "Raising an MLS Cup for the Crew on my birthday will always be one of my fondest memories. To see how far the league has come in such a relatively short amount of time is incredible, and it was an honor and privilege to play a small role in it. I am now extremely excited to enter the next phase of my life, and I will enjoy watching the league grow and prosper as a fan."