Sacha Kljestan: “If you know me, you know this day is emotional and difficult because of my deep love for the game.” (Photo courtesy of MLS)
Former U.S. men’s national team midfielder and Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan retired Thursday, ending his 17-year professional career.
The 37-year-old Kljestan played for the Red Bulls for three seasons, and also performed for Chivas USA, Orlando City and the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer, and Anderlecht in Belgium. He played for the Galaxy for the past three MLS campaigns.
“If you know me, you know this day is emotional and difficult because of my deep love for the game,” Kljestan said on Twitter. “But I am finally ready for the next chapter of my life.”
A former standout at Seton Hall University, Kljestan played in the 2008 Beijing Summer Games and made 52 appearances and scored six goals for the USMNT from 2007-17.
“I’m thankful for the career I’ve had and the big games I got to play,” he wrote. “But above all, I’m thankful for the relationships I’ve made along the way because those will stay with me forever.
“Thank you soccer.”
Kljestan played 97 regular season games for the Red Bulls from 2015-17, contributing 51 assists. He scored 16 MLS goals for the Red Bulls, led the league in assists in 2017 (17) and 2016 (20), one of the few players who tallied 20 or more assists in a season.
He spent his first five seasons in MLS with Chivas USA from 2006-10, when he scored 15 goals and added 33 assists in 114 appearances before transferring to Belgian first division side RSC Anderlecht. In five years at Anderlecht, he scored 25 goals in 180 appearances across all competitions, helping the team win three consecutive league titles and four Belgian Super Cups.