Former Rangers & Fulham captian Carlos Bocanegra has announced that he plans to retire from professional football upon the completion of the 2014 MLS season.
In a statement released by Chivas USA – Bocanegra said, “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.”
“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 challenge.”
The 35-year old began his career back in 2000 for the Chicago Fire before leaving for Fulham in 2004 -where he made 116 appearances. After three seasons playing in France, Bocanegra signed with Rangers in 2011. After becoming a favorite with Rangers supporters in his first season, he became the first Rangers captain to lead out the team in the lower leagues of Scotland. He eventually was loaned out to Racing Santander for a what was ultimately a disappointing 2012-13 season.
Besides difficulties in Spain with injuries & inconsistent performances, Bocanegra was being phased out of the United States national team picture. After earning 110 caps & captaining the team for six years – Bocanegra was no longer seen as a viable option for the 2014 World Cup team. He had played for the US in both the 2006 & 2010 tournaments.
Bocanegra returned to MLS & signed with Chivas USA in 2013. Chivas has been the worst team in MLS for a few years now & besides their struggles on the pitch – turmoil off the pitch has cast a shadow over the club.
The team was off to an improved start in 2014, but Bocanegra suffered a concussion in a July 20th match & has not played since.
A couple of weeks ago, Chivas manager Wilmer Cabrera urged caution with dealing with the health of his captain. Via the official MLS website, Cabrera said – “With the concussion, it’s something that, for us as coaches, we don’t want to put pressure on the players.”
“I don’t want to talk to Carlos and ask him how he feels [because] as soon as I say that, it’s going to feel that he needs to move forward.”
“With this concussion subject, we have to be careful. We would like to give him the time and possibility to relax to be sure he’s back to 100 percent.”
“When he’s 100%, he’s the first one to want to be on the field and, in that aspect, we feel comfortable. He wants to be on the field, but needs to be 100 percent.”
With the team likely not making the MLS playoffs, there are eight more games left on Chivas’ schedule. You would hope that Bocanegra can make it back in time to leave on his on terms & receive the accolades he deserves from American soccer fans.
The team did mention that Bocanegra will make the trip with Chivas for their next match on Sunday against the Columbus Crew but there was no comment on whether he was healthy enough to play.
Chivas’ final match of the regular season is at home vs. the San Jose Earthquakes.