Ryan Richter:  “I have made the difficult decision to hang up my boots and move on to start my coaching career.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com

At the age of 28, Cosmos defender Ryan Richter has decided to call it a career.

After years playing professional soccer, Richter announced his retirement from the game Tuesday night.

“I have made the difficult decision to hang up my boots and move on to start my coaching career,” Richter said on Twitter. “I wanted to say a sincere thank you to my Cosmos family for an amazing experience over the last two years with the club.

The 6-2, 174-lb. Richter converted the game-winning penalty kick in the shootout to lift the Cosmos to the 2016 North American Soccer League crown in The Championship final.

“To the coaching staff, players, front office, fans and all the other amazing people that are part of this great club, it has been an absolute pleasure to be part of this family. Having the honor of putting on the shirt of the club with the most history and culture in American soccer is something that I will never take for granted.

“In my time at the club we had our ups and downs, but inside our group nothing could stop us from achieving the goals that we set our for ourselves. Winning the fall season title, regular season title and the NASL championship in 2016 was something absolutely incredible. Reaching the final again in 2017 was something that seemed impossible, and we couldn’t bring home another title, it was an incredible achievement.”

Richter wasn’t finished.

“The success we had was incredible and I’m thankful for the opportunity of being part of something so special,” he added. “However, it doesn’t compare to the relationships and friendships that I’ve made while being a part of the New York Cosmos.

“Thank you for everything! Forever green!

After Hunter Freeman left the team to join Miami FC late in the 2016 season, Richter signed with the Cosmos Sept. 20. He came to the club from Bethlehem Steel FC, where he led the United Soccer League club with five goals and four assists.

He also performed with Ottawa Fury FC (NASL) and had spells with Toronto FC and Philadelphia Union (Major League Soccer). Richter also won a USL Pro title with the Charleston Battery in 2012.