CARSON, Calif. – Todd Dunivant has always been about one thing first and foremost: results.
He didn’t have the flash of a Landon Donovan but throughout his 13-year career, Dunivant provided consistent performances along the left side of defense. Whether it was his ability to calmly lock down an opposing wide midfielder or bomb forward into the attack, the left back built a career on being a dependable performer in whatever team that he was on.
Those days have come to an end, however as Dunivant announced on Wednesday that retire from professional soccer at the end of the 2015 season.
Dunivant ends his career as one of the most decorated players in league history with five MLS Cups, which is second to only Donovan’s record of six. After a career as a regular for the likes of the San Jose Earthquakes and the Galaxy, Dunivant has struggled with various injuries over the past two seasons which ultimately led to his decision to hang up his boots at the end of the year.
“At some point, you realize that you don’t want to be a professional rehabber or gym rat,” Dunivant told LAGalaxy.com. “If I’m not able to be out on the field and be able to compete every day to do the job that I love then it’s time to go. I’m at peace with that.”
Dunivant ends his career with a total of 282 MLS regular season appearances for four MLS clubs. He has spent the most time with the Galaxy where he played nine seasons compiling 233 appearances across all competitions.
After rejoining the Galaxy in 2009, Dunivant’s career took off as he provided a reliable presence at left back for an LA team that grew into a dynasty. Although individual honors rarely came aside from an MLS Best XI selection in 2011, Dunivant quietly built a resume that has left many to consider him one of the greatest to ever play the left back position in MLS history.
“My role was always to be the kind of guy who didn’t necessarily get the headlines and for me that’s good. As a defender, if you’re not talking about me then you’re also not talking about the guy that I’m marking,” Dunivant said. “Some of the most dangerous players are outside midfielders and if you don’t hear anything about him during the game then that’s a good thing. A lot of what I did was addition by subtraction and it’s okay that I didn’t get noticed all the time because it was something that I was proud of.”
Where Dunivant stacks up all-time among left backs remains a subject for debate, but even if not he’s considered one of the best, the 33-year-old is pleased that he remained a useful player to the end.
“That is for others to decide, I’ve always thought so but those kinds of things are for other people to talk about. I’m proud of the work that I’ve done. I did it in my style and my way,” Dunivant says fondly. “It wasn’t always the flashiest and it didn’t drive the headlines but, at the end of the day, it was about results and winning. I feel like I did that throughout my career.”
According to Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, Dunivant’s reliability on the pitch is what separated him from the rest during his stellar career.
“Todd has been a great part of the Galaxy,” Arena said. “I’ll always remember him as a great player, a great person, and a great leader for our sport in the United States.”
True to his workman spirit, Dunivant says that even though he’s announced his retirement, he’s hardly finished. With his time as a professional athlete running out, Dunivant is hopeful that he can return to full fitness and once again become contributor for the Galaxy down the stretch run.
And if he can help the Galaxy win him a record-tying sixth MLS Cup, it’ll make his farewell ride all the sweeter.
“We have three or four months of the season, I want to get back in the mix and do my part for the team,” said Dunivant. “We have a lot of games coming up with Champions League and the playoff push. This is the fun time of the year and I want to be ready to help.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com.