Twellman to Retire

Tuesday, November 02, 2010 | View Comments
CARSON, CA - JANUARY 29:  Taylor Twellman #20 of the USA reacts after not getting a foul call against Norway on January 29, 2006 during an international friendly match at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Taylor Twellman has a press conference scheduled for tomorrow.  It doesn't require much imagination to guess what he might announce.  In fact, Steve Goff is reporting that he has confirmed what has seemed inevitable for much of the last year; Twellman will retire, his brilliant career unfairly cut short by head injuries.

The focus will be on the "whys" of the matter, the concussions Twellman suffered and how they have forced him to call it a day before the rest of his body failed him.  Soccer players are meant to retire when their legs go, or when their touch disappears, or when it's clear they're a step slower than they need to be to compete on a level to which they're accustomed - not because they had the misfortune of getting whacked in the head with a keeper's punch.

But here we are, with one of Major League Soccer's greatest ever players and arguably its best pure goal-scorer, stepping away from the game he loves because head injuries are nothing to mess around with.

Let's hope, in the aftermath of the concussion talk (which, rightly, has been going strong for some time thanks to the NFL and writers like Grant Wahl) that as much focus is given to the extraordinary career Twellman will officially bring an end to tomorrow.  The Revs legend scored over 100 goals, led his squad to the MLS Cup final four times, led the league in goals twice, won the now defunct scoring title in 2002, and scored some of the biggest and most spectacular goals in league history.  He's a true MLS legend, and the league will be a lesser competition without him.

A taste of the praise and best wishes flowing across the Internet (Twitter, specifically) for a man who, though his chances with the National Team were less than they could/should have been, defined "American striker" alongside Brian McBride for much of the last decade:

Perhaps more than with most players, there large "what ifs" in Twellman's playing past. He was left off the 2006 World Cup team, never getting a chance to prove himself on the biggest stage. A proposed transfer to Preston North End was scuttled by MLS, leaving him without a sojourn abroad. The Revs were never able to get over the Final hump, keeping him from lifting the trophy as an MLS champion.

But those "what ifs" shouldn't diminish what Twellman accomplished in eight seasons. After 15 years, MLS has just a handful of truly iconic players in its history; a few of them, like Twellman, have chosen to end their careers in 2010. While it's unfortunate that Twellman is forced to retire, it's fitting that he's going out with the likes of Moreno, McBride, Ralston, Mathis, et al. It's a testament to his immense talent and incredible record that he's overshadowed by none of them. has an excellent slideshow of Twellman's time with the Revolution.

Here is my post on Twellman on the event of this 100 and 101st MLS regular season goals back in June of '09; little did I or anyone else know at the time that they would be the final goals of his career.
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