D.C. United captain Jaime Moreno announced that he will retire after the 2010 MLS season.
For D.C. United, it’s the end of an era.
Captain Jaime Moreno, the all-time leading scorer in MLS history, announced Thursday this will be his final season in a United uniform. At 36 years old, Moreno is the only active player to have participated in each of the league’s 15 seasons, spending all but one of those campaigns playing in the nation’s capital. President Kevin Payne told The Washington Post the striker is likely to join a club in his native Bolivia or retire and accept a front office position with the Black and Red.
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“I would like to offer a big thank you to everyone who has been a part of my time at D.C. United,” Moreno said in a press release. “Thank you to the fans for supporting me through all the years and to all the people that make up D.C. United – my teammates, my coaches, the staff and everyone else. I’m thankful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of this organization.”
The move hardly comes as a surprise. After making just 11 starts in 24 league appearances in 2009, Moreno earned a starting spot to begin the year thanks to a tremendous preseason under new coach Curt Onalfo. But the reinvigoration proved to be short-lived, and Moreno returned to his role as a substitute following two matches. Despite United struggling to a 3-13-3 record, he has made just five starts this year, scoring one goal in 16 total appearances.
Moreno’s future became a popular topic for discussion when he was chosen as one of Don Garber’s two commissioner’s picks for this summer’s MLS All-Star Game. Although he appreciated the sentiment, Moreno said at the time he had not made a decision about his future.
A seven-time all-star and five-time MLS Best XI selection, Moreno has contributed to each of United’s 12 major domestic and international titles, including four MLS Cups and the 1998 Interamerican Cup. With 132 goals and 102 assists, he is the only player in league history to have registered triple-digit totals in those two statistical categories.
Moreno originally joined United from Middlesbrough in the English Premier League during the inaugural MLS season in 1996. Seven productive years later, United traded Moreno to the New York/New Jersey Metrostars (since rebranded as Red Bull New York) at the end of his injury-plagued 2003 season.
Let go by the Metrostars after one year, Moreno signed on for a second stint with United. He enjoyed perhaps his finest MLS season in 2004, scoring nine goals and 15 assists during the regular season and play-offs while leading the team to its fourth MLS Cup. He also started a streak of being named to the MLS Best XI for three straight seasons, and he was named a finalist for the league MVP award.