Posted on October 13, 2011
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy and former U.S. international defender Gregg Berhalter is calling it a career.
Berhalter, 38, who made 44 appearances with the U.S. National Team, announced on Wednesday that he will retire following the Major League Soccer season.
In his 18th season as a professional, Berhalter joined the Galaxy in April 2009 and was a central figure in the club’s defensive transformation that has seen them allow the fewest goals in MLS over the past three seasons.
This past January, the New Jersey native became a player-coach, joining Bruce Arena’s coaching staff in addition to his role as a central defender. Berhalter, who has been sidelined since injuring his right foot in a CONCACAF Champions League game at home against Alajuelense on Aug. 25, will be honored following the Galaxy’s regular season home finale against Chivas USA on Sunday.
“I am grateful for all of the experiences that soccer has given me throughout my career,” Berhalter said in a statement. “I am proud to have been able to play for my country at the highest level as well as to play for all of the clubs that I have. I hope that I represented them well through hard work, dedication and my love for the game.
“There are an endless number of people that I have learned from and who have helped me throughout this journey and I am eternally thankful to all of them. Specifically, I would like to thank AEG, Bruce Arena and the entire Galaxy coaching staff for transforming this club into the one that it is today and for allowing me to be a part of it. I have enjoyed every minute of my three years with the Galaxy and will cherish the time that I have been able to spend with my teammates and the staff here with the club.”
Berhalter made his international debut in October 1994 against Saudi Arabia at 21. A member of the 2002 and 2006 U.S. World Cup teams, he played two games at the 2002 World Cup, helping the U.S. defeat Mexico, 2-0, in the second round before falling to Germany in the quarterfinals, 1-0. He was also a part of the U.S. team at the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Confederations Cups, as well as the team that finished fourth in the 1995 Copa America.
The final stop in a professional soccer career that saw him play in England, Germany and the Netherlands, Berhalter signed with the Galaxy on April 3, 2009 and made his debut for the club in a U.S. Open Cup play-in gme against Colorado four days later. Just four days after that game, Berhalter made his MLS debut, helping the Galaxy record the first of their then-club record 12 shutouts in a 0-0 draw with Chivas USA.
That season, Berhalter’s partnership in central defense with Omar Gonzalez helped the Galaxy concede an MLS-record 31 fewer goals than they had the season before, going from 62 goals allowed in 2008 to 31 in 2009. He played in and started 26 games for the club that year, as well as all four of their postseason games. While he did not score a regular season goal for the club, Berhalter scored one of the biggest goals in club history, beating Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad from close range in the first half of extra time in the Western Conference championship to give the Galaxy a 1-0 lead en route to a 2-0 win and a berth in MLS Cup.
Photo: At the age of 38, Greg Berhalter has decided to hang up his boots for good. Andy Mead/YCJ
Categories: North America, U.S.A.
Tags: 2002 World Cup, 2006 World Cup, Bruce Arena, FIFA Confederations Cup, Gregg Berhalter, LA Galaxy, Major League Soccer