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07/15/2008 8:39PM

Reyna announces his retirement

Red Bulls captain ends a storied 14-year soccer career
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Claudo Reyna was limited to just 27 games over the span of two seasons including only six this year.
Claudo Reyna was limited to just 27 games over the span of two seasons including only six this year. (AP Images)

After an injury-plagued two seasons in Major League Soccer, New York Red Bulls captain Claudio Reyna has called it quits. On Wednesday afternoon, the former U.S. national team captain made the official announcement at a news conference at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J., where he began his storied career.

Reyna, whose professional career spanned 14 years, made the move to MLS on a free transfer from Manchester City in January 2007. The midfielder was the Red Bulls' first designated player and he was the first in league history to play in an MLS match when New York opened the 2007 season with a scoreless draw against the Columbus Crew.

But, as was the case in the latter years of his career, Reyna, who will turn 35 on July 20, was slowed by injury during his short stint in MLS.

When healthy, Reyna was a calming influence on his team, showcasing the vision and passing ability that made him a valuable commodity for European clubs Manchester City and Sunderland in England, Rangers in Scotland and Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg in Germany. The Springfield, N.J. native made 112 appearances for the U.S. national team, playing in three World Cups as well as the 1996 Olympics.

However Reyna was limited to just 27 games over the span of two seasons, including just six this year as he suffered from a debilitating herniated disc. His last public appearance was the "Showdown in Chinatown" when he played the entire 60 minutes in a charity match that benefited his and NBA All-Star Steve Nash's foundations.

With Reyna's designated player slot available, the Red Bulls are expected to sign a forward to replace Jozy Altidore, who signed with Villarreal of Spain's La Liga last month. Juan Pablo Angel, who finished second in MLS in scoring last year with 19 goals, is the club's second designated player.

The Red Bulls have already made waves lately, signing Venezuelan midfielder Jorge Rojas, Argentinean defensive midfielder Juan Pietravallo and former Mexican youth international defender Diego Jiminez. The club has also welcomed Venezuelan international defender Gabriel Cichero on loan from Deportivo Italia.

Dylan Butler is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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