CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy midfielder Chris Klein announced today his decision to retire following the completion of the 2010 MLS season. One of the Galaxy’s longest tenured players having joined the club in June 2007, Klein ranks fifth in MLS history with 332 career regular season games played, having scored 49 goals and added 69 assists with three different clubs. Klein will play the final regular season game of his career on Sunday when the Galaxy host FC Dallas in their regular season finale at The Home Depot Center. He will remain with the club through the postseason, where he will look to help the Galaxy win their first MLS Cup championship since 2005.
“The decision to step away from the game after 13 years is a difficult one, but one that I am ready for,” Klein said. “I have had an amazing journey in MLS. I’ve had the ability to play with hundreds of teammates and for some of the best coaches that this league has ever produced, and I was able to forge relationships with them that extend beyond the soccer field. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to play in front of some incredible fans in Kansas City, Salt Lake and now here with the Galaxy; and those are the people that I will really miss.”
[inline_node:30723]A native of St. Louis, Mo., Klein began his 13-year MLS career when he was selected by the Kansas City Wizards with the fourth pick of the 1998 MLS College Draft following a standout college career at Indiana. The 34-year-old midfielder helped the Wizards win their first MLS Cup Championship in 2000, assisting on Miklos Molnar’s game-winning goal as the Wizards defeated Chicago 1-0. One of the club’s all-time leaders in games played, goals and assists, Klein was a four-time All-Star during his time with the Wizards while also helping them win the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
He was traded to Real Salt Lake prior to the start of the 2006 season and spent a year and a half with the club, scoring eight times and adding nine assists in 43 games before being traded to the Galaxy. Used at both right back and on the right side of midfield for the Galaxy, Klein quickly became a fan favorite upon arriving in LA, cementing his position in Galaxy lore when he scored one of the most famous goals in club history, a bicycle kick in the final seconds of regulation in the Final of the inaugural SuperLiga that tied the score at 1-1 and sent the match to extratime.
“On behalf of the LA Galaxy, I want to thank Chris Klein for his contributions to the club and all of the work that he has done to help grow the sport of soccer here in the United States,” Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena said. “Chris has established an outstanding legacy in MLS as an All-Star performer, an MLS Cup champion and a key figure in a historical collective bargaining agreement. Through these endeavors, Chris has always exhibited the character and professionalism that he has become synonymous with and we wish him the very best as he moves forward to the next step of his career.”
One of the most consistent players in the history of MLS, Klein owns the league record for most consecutive games played at 141 and consecutive games started at 118. From June 11, 2005 until April 11, 2009, Klein started every regular season game in which his teams played. On April 18, 2009, he came off the bench in the Galaxy’s 1-1 draw at San Jose, ending his consecutive games started streak, but continuing his consecutive games played streak. That run ended at 141 games on September 26, 2009 when he was an unused substitute in a 2-0 loss at Columbus.
A two-time MLS Comeback Player of the Year, winning the award in 2002 and 2005 after coming back from a torn ACL that he suffered in each of the previous seasons, Klein was capped 22 times by the U.S. National Team after making his international debut in a 2-0 win over Mexico on October 25, 2000. He had five goals and three assists in his international career, including a goal and two assists in a 4-0 win over Guatemala at Pizza Hut Park in February 2006.
“The most important thing to me throughout this journey has been the support of my family. My wife Angela, and our two kids Carson and Cami, I’ve taken them from Kansas City to Salt Lake City and now Los Angeles and they have been a tremendous anchor for me,” Klein said. “Additionally, I am blessed by the way in which God has taken care of me both physically and spiritually all the way from when I began my career in 1998 until today. It has been amazing to see the path that He has had me on and something that I hope to continue after this year. I have been playing this game since I was a kid and I am very thankful to be able to be able to do what I love for the past 13 years and to walk away from that is going to be an adjustment, but I believe that God prepares us for different seasons in our life and He has prepared me to start a new one.”
Klein is the third Galaxy player to retire this season, joining Clint Mathis, who retired from the game in August and Eddie Lewis, who announced his retirement earlier today, though, like Klein, he will remain with the club through the end of the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs. To purchase tickets or for more information about Sunday’s regular season finale against FC Dallas, the final regular season game of Klein and Lewis’ careers, please visit www.lagalaxy.com or call 1-877-3GALAXY (342-5299).