Jimmy Conrad officially retires as a professional soccer player

Concussions cited as the main reason; will work with the Chivas USA Youth Academy

Jimmy Conrad retirement press conference

Photo Credit: 
Gabe Dahl / Chivas USA

CARSON, Calif. (Thursday August 18, 2011) – The veteran defender for the Red and White, Jimmy Conrad, announced his official retirement as a professional soccer player during a press conference which took place this Thursday afternoon at the Home Depot Center, home of Chivas USA in Carson, California.

“I spoke to people that are close to me, like my family, but mainly it was the doctors and coaches who helped me come to this conclusion.  They informed me that it was probably in my best interest to retire, you know after six ‘documented’ concussions.” expressed Conrad. “The doctors couldn’t tell me what was going to happen if I suffered another one, what the long-term damage would be.  I still have symptoms, I still have a headache that comes and goes. So, they basically said that this is probably what I should do (retire).  I’ve had a good career, and a lot to be proud of so I think this is probably in my best interest to shut it down.”

When asked if he felt this was a forced decision the Temple City native responded, “It would be hard to argue otherwise but I’m still the guy who has to make the final decision, which makes it hard. As a player you have this picture of how your career is going to end, maybe a red carpet, fireworks, a statue if you’re lucky, but the reality is that it probably doesn’t happen that way for 95% of athletes. So to not be able to go out on my own terms, to say that my last game was a bore-fest against the Colorado Rapids was probably not ideal, not the way I wanted it to go.  It was a loss too, and obviously you want to go out as a winner, holding the trophy at the very least so that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.  You’d like to say- ‘I’m choosing for this to be my last game, I know this is my last game, I’m playing it like it’s my last game’.  Obviously there’s that cliché that you should play every game like it’s your last game, but it’s really hard to quantify that when you’ve been playing for 12, 13 years.” commented the defenseman.

“My family, friends, teammates, and coaches have been incredibly supportive.  They probably acted more as my common sense in this whole matter than I did because as a competitor you just want to get back on the field and help, even if you have an injury.” said Conrad when asked about his family’s reaction to the news of his retiring. “For me, the hardest thing has been my ego. As an athlete, a lot of your self worth is tied up in your performance, being in the public eye, playing in front of the fans, and being a certain guy.  When that’s taken away from you, it’s a bit of a transition, a bit of a punch in the gut to everything you have built yourself up to be. I mean, from a common sense perspective I totally get why I’m shutting it down, but from the ego, you always want to be the guy, you want to score the winning goal, you want to be the hero.  A lot of us have hero complexes.”

The now former Goats Defender also spoke of his long term and immediate future plans as well as his involvement with Chivas USA Youth Academy, “I know we’re working on restructuring our youth system, and I will be heavily involved with the development of the Chivas USA youth academy. We need to make sure we start having a foothold in this area, in our youth side.  It’s something I’m passionate about, and I think that’s where we’re going to get all of our future players.” commented Jimmy. “Obviously, I’m going to explore all of my options so I can make an educated decision about what’s next and what’s best for my family. LA seems like as good of an area as any. I grew up here so it would be nice to stay.  If it’s with Chivas USA, all the better, and if it’s not, then it’ll probably be something in broadcasting or working with MLS or U.S. Soccer. I’ll do whatever I can to use my experience to help better the next generation.”

“And lastly, thanks to the all of the fans that supported the teams I played on and cheered for the scrawny kid from Temple City, CA, who made up in heart what he lacked in skill.  I will always cherish the moments of running in front of you in small shorts and long socks with other grown men while trying to kick a ball in a certain direction.” concluded the five time All-Star.

“Jimmy is one of the best assets this league has ever had because he is not only a tremendous player but his work ethic and effervescent personality have always been things that have defined him and he has brought a very big presence to wherever he’s been, whether it was with MLS teams or with the National team,” said Chivas USA’s Head Coach Robin Fraser about Conrad’s retirement. “He is just that type of person who’s great to have in your team. You want Jimmy on your side, and certainly his retirement you can look at it as being a sad thing, but I think is really a celebration of a fantastic career. He has made this decision and he’s going to move on and be extremely successful on whatever else he does.”

In addition Chivas USA General Manager, Jose Domene said the following, “It’s great that he is retiring here, he is from the city. He has been great in terms of leadership.  Even though he didn’t play a whole lot, his presence in the locker room has been great, especially for the young guys. He’s going to become a part of our staff, helping us with the Academy and with the first team, which is great.  He has been a National Team player and he’s had a long and great MLS career.  Developing young talent is something that we need in this club, and he’ll help us with that, getting the youth to the next level.”

JIMMY CONRAD – STAT SHEET

Jimmy Conrad, Temple City, California native has played a total of 290 matches in Major League Soccer since his arrival in 1999 as a member of the San Jose Earthquakes (formerly the San Jose Clash).

Number 12 for the Red and White was acquired by Chivas USA on December 21, 2010 during the inaugural MLS Re-Entry Draft. Conrad played 13 seasons in MLS that included stops with the San Jose Earthquakes (1999-2002), the Kansas City Wizards (2003-2010) and Chivas USA (2011).

Of his 290 games in the MLS, 275 were as a starter, scoring 20 goals and 10 assists. Conrad played his last two matches in the MLS as a part of Chivas USA. In both games, he was a starter and scored his 20th goal versus his former team, the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City) in the kick-off match to begin the 2011 MLS season. The defender started both games as captain of the Goats.

Jimmy Conrad was selected to the MLS All-Star Team on five occasions, was nominated to the league's Best XI four different times, was awarded the Defender of the Year in the MLS in 2005, and represented the United States as a player for the Stars and Stripes, earning 28 caps and scoring one goal. In addition to these accomplishments and due to the quality of his play, he participated in the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany playing against eventual champion, Italy, and Ghana.