Chris Wingert: “On one hand, I am extremely sad to walk away from the game that has seemed to define me (at least at times) up until this point. I literally don’t know a life without soccer.” (Photo courtesy of MLS)

This is the full statement of Babylon, N.Y. native and Real Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert, who announced his retirement from soccer Monday.

I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to announce my retirement from professional soccer. Part of me felt like it was selfish to make a statement. That I would be doing it only for promotional reasons. Whereas the humble, more genuine, thing to do would be to just walk away, that everyone would find out eventually.

After some more thought though, I realized that there are people who care, who are wondering what I’m up to. Of course, not millions of fans like the superstar legends of the game. But people who have followed my career and supported me in numerous different ways. I felt like those people deserved to know what was going on.

So here it is. After 14 years of Major League Soccer, it is time to move on. Bitter sweet as you can imagine. On one hand, I am extremely sad to walk away from the game that has seemed to define me (at least at times) up until this point. I literally don’t know a life without soccer.

On the other hand, I am beyond excited for what’s to come! Moving home, spending more time with my family and friends in NY, and helping the next generation of players with their careers. I believe God has bigger and better things for me ahead, and can’t wait to see what that entails (Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 3:12-14)

There are too many thank you’s to write them all in this post. But I’d like to thank the four organizations that I had the pleasure of playing for, and of course THEIR FANS! Columbus Crew, Colorado Rapids, New York City FC and Real Salt Lake.

Columbus and Colorado for giving me a change as a young kid out of college. NYCFC for bringing me back to New York and allowing me to play at Yankee Stadium in front of my friends and family.

And to RSL. I could write a whole book on the great memories and friends I’ve made in Salt Lake and it still wouldn’t be enough. I don’t believe another small market team will have a five-year run like we did for a very long time. Thank you for that.

In the next few months I will be my best to reach out to all my teammates, coaches and support staffs, who have such a profound and lasting impacting in my life/career. I absolutely loved working with you each and every day.

Before I end this ridiculously long post, I want to thank my parents. My mom for instilling in me the discipline it takes to be a professional in every sense of the word. To my dad, for putting in the countless hours that nobody knows about and teaching me that anything is possible if you go for it with everything you have. I feel so blessed to be your son.

Of all the gifts that soccer has given me, it is the relationships that I cherish the most. Fortunately, I can take those with me as I walk away from the game. With that in mind, I hope to see you all soon.

 

Yours in the beautiful game,

Chris Wingert