CARSON, Calif. – It was with a mixture of sadness and gratitude that Galaxy coaches and players reacted to Wednesday’s announcement that veteran left back Todd Dunivant will retire at the conclusion of this season.
The 34-year-old, now in his 13th year in Major League Soccer, has been limited to just three games this season because of injuries including a torn abdominal muscle and groin. He has appeared in only 10 games during the last two seasons combined due to various injuries.
“I feel really good about the decision and feel like it’s the right time,” Dunivant said. “At some point you’ve got to listen to your body, and my body is telling me it’s giving me everything it can.”
His teammates collectively admitted they were disappointed to know a career that included five MLS Cup titles and a spot in the league’s Best XI in 2011 was coming to a close.
“He’s been huge,” Robbie Keane said. “I think off the field as well. It’s always hard for any player to come to the end and have that decision to actually do it. I think he’s quite content that it’s the right time for him.”
“I just wish him well. He’s a good guy, a great professional,” he remarked. “We’re certainly going to miss him around here.”
Dunivant has had two stints with the Galaxy. He joined the club in 2005 following a trade from San Jose and rejoined the club in February 2009 in a deal with Toronto FC for allocation money.
A.J. DeLaGarza was a rookie during that latter season and remembered Dunivant as someone he repeatedly sought out for advice.
“He’d been around the league and knew his stuff,” DeLaGarza said. “I was playing outside back and I just watched him and learned from him. He’s a great reader of the game and that’s what I tried to emulate as well.”
“Hopefully, he didn’t have to say things twice to me,” he went on with a laugh.
Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts also was a newcomer to the Galaxy in 2009 and recently rejoined the defending MLS Cup champions following a trade with Orlando City. He was impressed with Dunivant then and continues to be impressed now.
“Todd is a steady defender,” Ricketts said. “A very good pro, comes in early in the morning, always working in the gym. I think he had an injury-ravaged career, but it was a good career nonetheless.”
“He’s a good locker room guy, always encouraging.”
Ricketts admitted Dunivant’s decision hit particularly close to home, considering he just turned 38 and is in the twilight of his career.
“I don’t like to speak of retirement because mine is approaching very quickly,” he said with a laugh. “I’m sorry to see him go, but he had a good career.”
Robbie Rogers, a converted midfielder who took over for Dunivant at left back, said he’ll always remain appreciative of the veteran’s help in making the difficult transition to the back line.
“He’s had an amazing career,” Rogers said. “He’s one of the guys that sits next to me, so whenever I need help with whatever, he’s one of the first guys I go to. I had to learn the position in a few months, and I’m still learning.”
“He very much wanted to help me and did help me. I’m very grateful.”