New York favorite Wolyniec retires
Wolyniec, the 12-year MLS veteran who is still the only player in New York Red
Bulls franchise history to score a goal in the MLS Cup Final, announced his
retirement from professional soccer on Thursday.
spent more than seven seasons in New York, earning his place alongside other
fan favorites as Mike Petke, Clint Mathis and Seth Stammler during his tenure.
He retires ranked second all-time behind Petke in club history in games played
(142) and with 26 of his 33 career MLS goals coming either with the MetroStars
or the Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls plan to honor
Wolyniec, who has accepted a position with the Red Bull Academy, at their match
at Red Bull Arena on Oct. 2 against the Kansas City Wizards at 7:30 PM ET.
“Over the last 12 years, I have been
able to live my dream of being a professional soccer player and I am so
grateful to the individuals who have helped me along the way,” Wolyniec said in a statement.
“I would not have been able to have such a successful career without the
support of family, friends, coaches, teammates and fans. Though I will miss the
game, I am looking forward to the new challenges ahead."
Island, N.Y. native will likely be remembered in New York circles for two
landmark goals, including his tally in the 2008 MLS Cup against the Columbus Crew
in New York’s only league championship appearance in franchise history.
scored what some consider the greatest goal in franchise history on Sept. 20,
2003, striking a left-footed game-winning volley against the Crew off a 50-yard pass
from Amado Guevara.
“John has been a wonderful player
and ambassador for the club and the league for so many years,” said Red Bull
New York General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler. “We hold him in the
highest regard and his work ethic and professionalism both on and off the pitch
was second to none. We want John to continue to be a part of this club for
years to come and we’re excited to give him to opportunity to pass along the
values he has to the next generation of players.”
Wolyniec started his career in 1999
with New York, before enjoying stints with the Chicago Fire and the New England
Revolution. The former Fordham University standout returned to New York in the
2003 season and had his best year statistically in 2004, playing in 30 games
and scoring 10 goals and three assists.
He was traded to the Columbus Crew
in 2005 and then to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2006 before he again rejoined New
York for a 2007 MLS SuperDraft fourth round selection and a 2008 second round
selection. In 2008, Wolyniec was instrumental in the team’s first trip to the
MLS Cup Final, scoring two goals and adding an assist and starting in each of the
team’s playoff games.
Overall, Wolyniec made 192 total
regular season appearances during his career, logging 10,035 minutes. He
appeared in four league games during the 2010 season before he was waived by
the Red Bulls on July 30.