Crew legend Frankie Hejduk officially retires, joins club's front office
Crew legend Frankie Hejduk today announced his retirement from professional soccer, following a stellar 16-year career in which he captained the club to the MLS Cup 2008 championship and represented the United States at two World Cups and two Olympics. Simultaneously, the Crew announced that he will join the front office as brand ambassador, a newly created role in which he will promote the Crew through a variety of methods, interacting with all aspects of the organization for the purpose of raising awareness, supporting business development initiatives and generating excitement for the club.
“I want to thank my family and all of my teammates, trainers, equipment managers, front office staffers, coaches and fans for making my life that much more special, both on and off the field,” Hejduk said. “We all share a special bond that’s tough to explain to anyone outside that circle, but the memories we share and the good times we had will never be forgotten or matched. Now I look forward to continuing my association with the Crew and helping to grow the sport of soccer.”
Known for his tireless work rate, Hejduk was one of the most recognizable and dynamic players in Major League Soccer for 12 seasons, including three with the Tampa Bay Mutiny (1996-98) and one with the LA Galaxy (2011). Over the course of his storied career in Black & Gold (2003-10), Hejduk was a part of four major trophies – the MLS Cup title and three Supporters’ Shields (2004, 2008, 2009) – while becoming one of the most popular figures in club history.
He won a second MLS Cup with the Galaxy in 2011 and was on 1996 and 2011 Supporters’ Shield winning teams with Tampa Bay and LA, respectively.
Hejduk, 37, was originally signed by the Crew on March 7, 2003. Between his two MLS stints, he played overseas for Bayer Leverkusen of the German Bundesliga from 1998-2002 and St. Gallen of the Swiss First Division in 2002. A six-time MLS All-Star (five with the Crew), he appeared in 147 games in Black & Gold, tallying seven goals and 16 assists.
“Frankie Hejduk personified the Crew and was a tremendous ambassador for the club during his storied playing career, so creating the position of Brand Ambassador for him is a natural extension,” said Crew President & General Manager Mark McCullers. “Frankie will continue to be a recognizable and visible personality championing the club within our media broadcasts, digital media content, community relations, corporate partnerships and, of course, fan relations.”
A longtime U.S. National Team standout, Hejduk earned 85 caps (appearances) for the red, white and blue. He has the distinction of being the only player to see action in both the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups, and the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. He was also named to the 2006 U.S. World Cup squad the day before a torn ACL was diagnosed that ended his quest to play in three successive World Cups.