As previously reported, Carlos Bocanegra has announced his retirement. The following contains excerpts from an extended statement the former Rangers & Fulham captain released via US Soccer’s official website.
I was fighting through this decision this past offseason and thinking, “How much longer am I going to play,” and “What do I want to do with my career?” I’m still hungry for the game and I want to play, but unfortunately you can’t play forever. The timing is right for me. It took me about six months to come to a final decision. 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.
Coming into the National Team at a young age, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, you come into a setup where it could be such a scary situation. You had all these incredible veterans, and these guys created an environment and a culture for young guys to come into where they showed you respect and treated you as one of their own. I think that was a big part of my learning experience on how to be a professional, how to be a leader and how to go about your business. That carried me throughout my career. It was invaluable to be brought up in that environment.
I think I’m most proud of my time spent with the National Team. Throughout your career you play for different clubs and have different experiences, but there has been one constant in my life and my career, and that’s the U.S. National Team. I’m just so proud that I got to represent the country for so long and play at the highest level I could.
I’ve been pretty fortunate in my career. One of most special opportunities was being able to captain the National Team. It’s a true honor and something I didn’t take lightly. When I can look back on my career, it’s something I’m very proud of and will cherish forever.
When I think about memorable games, you have to throw in the Spain game in the Confederations Cup that got us to the final. They had some unbelievable winning streak going on, and we knocked them off their post. In 2006, we played Italy in Kaiserslautern. The fans were amazing in that game, it was in a World Cup, and Italy was the eventual champion. The game had everything: red cards, blood, sweat and tears, and we got a draw, so that was cool. And obviously there was the Algeria game in 2010 that advanced us to the knockout stage. We put in so much work and effort, and it came down to almost a walk-off goal, so to speak. You watched the reactions on YouTube around the country – now imagine that feeling going through every player’s body times 10 because of the relief and the joy we all felt.
There are a lot of memories from the different club teams. You are making new friends, seeing new places, and experiencing new cultures. Soccer has shown me the world, and I grew up and became the man I am because of it. One that sticks out was my time at Rangers. It was a fantastic experience at the top club in the country. To have the chance to play in front of 52,000 fans every game at Ibrox was incredible. That showed me how much I love soccer and how much supporters can be a part of a club and even be part of a culture. Those things you never forget.
Rangers are the only club mentioned in the statement.