Fomer United States national team captain Carlos Bocanegra is retiring from professional soccer after the conclusion of the 2014 MLS season, he announced Thursday.
The center back is currently in his 15th professional season, a career that saw him lift two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups with the Chicago Fire before joining Premier League club Fulham. "Los" then had stints in Ligue 1, with Rangers and on loan in Spain before returning to MLS with Chivas USA in the 2013 season.
"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," Bocanegra said in a Chivas USA news release. "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.”
Bocanegra made more than 100 appearances for the United States national team after getting his first call-up in 2003. He started all of the United States' matches at the 2006 World Cups and did the same in 2010, wearing the captain's armband in all four of the 2010 matches. He was still captaining the team during portions of 2012 but watched on in San Pedro Sula, Honduras as unseasoned center backs Omar Gonzalez and Geoff Cameron started in the first match of the final round of qualifying in February of 2013. It was the last time he appeared for Jurgen Klinsmann's side.
“Carlos deserves a huge, huge compliment for a great career," Klinsmann said in a news release from U.S. Soccer. "He proved himself with consistency at a high level for many years, and he was an outstanding captain and role model for the National Team. He was a great player and an even better leader, and we wish him all the best.”
The 35-year-old's next appearance likely will come Sunday when Chivas USA visits the Columbus Crew.