Former New York forward and fan favorite John Wolyniec announced his retirement from professional soccer today. In a career that spanned 12 years, including seven-plus seasons with the New York franchise, Wolyniec, the only player in the Red Bulls’ history to have scored a goal in the MLS Cup Final, finishes his career fifth in club history in goals scored in all competitions with 36. 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. “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.”
WATCH: John Wolyniec All-Time Best XI video
“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.”
A Staten Island, NY native, Wolyniec is second all-time in regular season games played with 142 and tallied 26 goals during these appearances. Wolyniec scored 36 goals for New York in all competitions, including his strike against the Columbus Crew on Nov. 23, 2008 in the club’s first-ever MLS Cup Final and a thunderous left-footed volley against the Crew in a 1-0 overtime win on Sept. 20, 2003 at Giants Stadium that is arguably the best goal scored in club history.
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 one assist and starting in each of the team’s playoff games. Overall, Wolyniec made 192 total regular season appearances during his career, loggin 10,035 minutes. In his final season, Wolyniec played in four games, starting in two and recorded four goals in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play.
In 2004, Wolyniec earned two caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team. At Fordham, Wolyniec was the university’s all-time leading scorer with 75 goals and 36 assists, was named the 1998 Atlantic-10 Player of the Year and twice led Division I in scoring.