One of the most decorated goalkeepers in MLS history is finally calling it a day.
Longtime LA Galaxy, Kansas City, FC Dallas and New York Red Bulls shot-stopper Kevin Hartman announced his retirement from professional soccer on Thursday, bringing an end to a 17-year career that saw him collect two MLS Cups and earn almost every MLS goalkeeping record.
“It has been an honor and thrill to play in Major League Soccer over the last 17 years, and I first want to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support," Hartman said in a statement. "In addition, I also want to recognize my former coaches, teammates, clubs and, most importantly, the fans for being a huge part of this ride. It was a privilege to have this dream job and watch soccer and the league grow by leaps and bounds since I began my career. I am truly looking forward to the next stage of my life and am very thankful for the many memories and relationships I have made along the way.”
Hartman, who did not see the field in league play after joining the Red Bulls for the 2013 season, was originally drafted by the Galaxy in the third round of the 1997 College Draft out of UCLA and spent the first 10 years of his career with the team. While in Southern California, he won both MLS Cups of his career (2002 and 2005), the 2000 CONCACAF Champions' Cup, two U.S. Open Cup titles, and two Supporters' Shields. On an individual level, he was named the 1999 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and received his lone MLS Best XI selection that same year. He made four of his five All-Star appearances while with the Galaxy.
After moving on from the Galaxy at the end of 2006, Hartman spent three years with the Kansas City Wizards, earning an All-Star nod in 2007, before moving to FC Dallas for the 2010 campaign. That year, he posted a single-season record 0.62 goals-against-average as he helped Dallas to the MLS Cup final, his fifth championship game, before they fell to Colorado in extra time.
Hartman, 39, retires as the league's all-time regular-season leader in games played (416 – the only player in league history to reach the 400-game mark), minutes played (37,260), goalkeeper wins (180), saves (1,474) and shutouts (112 – Real Salt Lake's Nick Rimando is just four shutouts behind him). He also leads MLS in all these categories in postseason play after appearing in 49 playoff games, most recently with FC Dallas in 2011.
Though extensively experienced and honored at the club level, Hartman did not break through at the international level, earning just five caps for the United States. His first appearance in a national-team jersey came in 1999, while his last two came at the beginning of 2006.
“Kevin deserves to be remembered as one of the all-time greats in Major League Soccer,” Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said in a release. “Having the opportunity to both compete against him as a player and coach him this season, it is clear to me that Kevin is the ultimate competitor and professional and it was an honor to work with him. I wish him the best of luck in the next stage of his career.”