The Philadelphia Union announced Monday that the team had agreed to release veteran goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who will join Deportivo Cali in his homeland of Colombia, the club with which he started his career in 1990.
"It has been an absolute honor and a privilege to be part of the Union family,” said Mondragon. "My time in Philadelphia has proven to be unforgettable, and I am tremendously proud of having led the team for what proved to be a successful 2011. We achieved most of our goals and continued the club's growth into becoming the best club in MLS."
Mondragon clarified that his departure from Philadelphia came not as a result of any sort of falling out of the club, but as a result of family reasons.
"For family reasons, I have requested the club to allow me the opportunity to finish my career where it started," the 40-year-old added. "I am extremely thankful with our fans, especially Sons of Ben, the best fans in MLS, our ownership, technical staff, my teammates and everyone in the city of Philadelphia who always made me feel at home and made the 2011 season one I will never forget. I look forward to coming back to PPL Park as an avid fan and part of the Union family. I wish the club continued success."
Mondragon leaves after a successful year in MLS – after joining the Union on a free transfer from German outfit FC Cologne, he made 27 appearances, posting a 62 percent save percentage and seven clean sheets. For his exploits, he was named to the 2011 MLS All-Star team and finished second in MLS Goalkeeper of the Year voting, behind Kasey Keller.
"We’d like to thank Faryd for his service to our team and his incredible leadership last season," said Union Team Manager Peter Nowak. "We understand that family is important above all else and we decided that it was of the utmost importance to grant him his request of finishing his career with his childhood club. We wish him the best of luck as he ends his career at Deportivo Cali, the club where he started his career."