MLS- New York Red Bulls

Claudio Reyna retiring



                                                    Photo by ISIphotos.com

Ultimately, the injuries were just too much to overcome.

After a 14-year professional career that saw him play in Germany, England and Scotland before returning to the United States, Claudio Reyna has decided it is time to stop playing. The former U.S. national team captain and New York Red Bulls midfielder is retiring immediately, sources within MLS told SBI on Tuesday.

The Red Bulls have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday at 2pm at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, the school where Reyna’s decorated career began two decades ago.

Leg and back injuries limited Reyna, who turns 35 later this month, to just six games this season, and 27 games total during his two seasons with the Red Bulls after joining the club on a free transfer from Manchester City.

Reyna’s retirement is expected to free up a designated player slot the team is very likely to use to sign a forward to replace departed U.S. national team forward Jozy Altidore, who was sold to Villarreal last month. (Update- according to a source, the Red Bulls will not be using the DP slot this year.)

According to sources, Reyna will still be paid the remainder of his $1.25 million contract, but the Red Bulls will pay the remaining portion of the salary that MLS was due to pay. This would allow the club to fill his salary slot and designated player slot (I’m seeking confirmation on this from the league, with a source just telling me they don’t believe this to be the case).

Reyna joined the Red Bulls prior to the 2007 season as its first designated player. He played 27 matches over the course of two seasons, including six matches this year, but nagging leg injuries prevented him from ever having the impact expected of him when he was signed for a two-year, $2.5 million contract by then Red Bulls coach Bruce Arena.

Reyna showed flashes of the composure and skill with the Red Bulls that made him so successful in Europe, but ultimately his body could not handle the rigors of playing on artificial turf and in the physical MLS at the age of 34. He was repeatedly forced to miss matches with a variety of injuries, and after considerable deliberation, Reyna made the final decision to stop playing.

Reyna’s last public appearance came two weeks ago in a charity game with Steve Nash and Thierry Henry in Manhattan. At that match, Reyna stated his desire to come back, but at that point discussions were already underway with the Red Bulls about the possibility of him retiring.

Reyna spent a dozen seasons in Europe, playing for Wolfsburg in Germany, Sunderland and Manchester City in England, and Glasgow Rangers in Scotland. He was regarded as one of the best players ever produced by the United States for his composure and skill in central midfield.

His career reached its peak at the 2002 World Cup, where he helped lead the United States to the World Cup quarterfinals. His inspired performance in that tournament earned him All-Tournament honors, making him the first American to ever receive such a distinction.

It remains to be seen just how the Red Bulls will be allowed to use the vacated designated player slot and salary cap space left open by Reyna’s retirement. With the designated player mechanism only in its second year of existence, MLS is in uncharted territories when it comes to handling a situation like this. According to sources, the Red Bulls were expected to pay Reyna’s entire remaining salary, believed to be slightly more than $600,000, a figure that includes the $200,000 pro-rated amount due Reyna from the league (MLS pays up to $400,000 of a designate player’s salary, less for a team’s second designated player, with the team paying the rest.)

I’ll share my thoughts on Reyna’s retirement later. For now, share your own thoughts on Reyna’s retirement below.

  • Eugene

    I’d actually prefer to see NY use the 2nd DP slot for a playmaking attacking mid (moving Rojas to left wing), rather than another forward. The problem with having both DPs as forwards is that if you can’t get them the ball, they float around isolated with little influence on the game.

    Having a quality playmaker can bring up everyone’s game and can definitively connect the midfield with the forwards, allowing the team’s game to flow.

    I think if the team gets a pretty decent but not DP 2nd forward to partner with Angel, they should be more than alright.


  • Sean

    I am glad to hear this. It should have happened last season and Red Bull never should have used a DP slot on him. Having said that, Claudio Reyna was a very positive part of the US team for several years.

    It is too bad that he had a knack for playing places for too long. It’s too bad he was overvalued. If Reyna had been signed for 200K, I highly doubt there would have been this much criticism of him. Compared to MLS terms of quality, he was a highly gifted player. But, it was foolish not to foresee this debacle.

    His age combined with his injury problems combined with the fact that he is not what the DP rule is supposed to be about… added to the high pressure style of MLS, lack of flow to MLS games, the awful and hard surface at Giants Stadium and this was one of the worst moves in the history of MLS.

    In the EPL and on the US team, he deserves a bit of credit. Without his help, the team would have been not as good (most of the time).


  • Jacob S.

    Cheers, Claudio. A leader of the USMNT and a great ambassador overseas in Europe despite his injuries. Thank you for everything you’ve done for American soccer. I’m sure he would have liked to go out better than his tainted career with RBNY, but you can’t blame a man of his caliber for trying to hold on to something he loves for so long. I wish him best of luck in everything he does in the future.


  • Yossarian

    Anyone who thinks Henry is coming here is dreaming, imo. Maybe he’ll be here in 5 years but not in his prime. Other than Beckham, when has MLS ever been able to attract a world-class player under the age of 34?


  • Jaxxy

    Reyna was always a good European club player, and for that he should get respect.

    But come on, honestly – anyone who says he was a world-class player is saying that just because he wore the US shirt.

    He was terrible in France 98, not much better in Japorea 02, and was worthless on the Red Bulls.

    Anyone watching his games in the RB shirt could see that his passes were consistently inches short, and that he couldn’t stay on the ball when challenged.

    Let’s put it this way – if Reyna were coming up these days, there’s no way he’d make it into this midfield. He was never able to live up to being Ramos’ successor.

    He made us proud as a Yank in Europe, but was perhaps the most overrated player this side of Donovan.


  • TheDreamTeam

    What this means is MLS is not a place for those over 35 to come to simply retire. Others in Reyna’s age range are prospering including Blanco but this league is no longer for those who simply want a high paycheck with little running. It’s now a physically demanding league. Too bad Reyna and others in the future are going to have to learn this the hard way. Shame he had to go out this way. Would’ve been nice to see him at least finish the season but he’ll be remembered for his service on the USMNT and his years at “City.”


  • Caldwell

    Anyone who is gleeful over Reyna’s retirement is an idiot. He easily makes the all-time USMNT best XI. Show some class, people!


  • Tim F.

    Claudio was on the best XI squard for the 2002 World Cup. You can’t ask for much more than that!


  • Frimp

    1st reaction – Too bad to see his career end in what he would probably characterize as a less-than-ideal ending. I’m sure he would have wanted to lead the team for 2 years as a solid sendoff to his career and contribution to US soccer/MLS.

    2nd reaction – Good for RBNY to use the slot if they can/will.

    Speaking of players with injuries and “knowing what you’re getting by looking at the last 2 years”…why all the circle-j for thierry henry. yes he is amazing, and so on. but what about a younger, less injury-prone DP – he’s been having issues.

    I have not set my heart on TH14, no offense to him, as many have…am I alone on this one? So be it.


  • Joe B.

    I don’t know. I have mixed emotions about this. Although I understand this was best for the Red Bulls, and I knew he was a shell of himself from six years ago, we sholud look at his career as whole. He’s definitely one of the best we had. I was going to type some other stuff, but I don’t want to sound negative…


  • papa bear

    @Posted by: mikeK | July 15, 2008 at 04:05 PM

    when it comes to anything that gives NY or LA another competitive advantage then you can rest assured the league will bend over backwards to make it happen.

    Reyna is the worst DP signing in league history. Good job on the distinction. (yes, he was far worse than Denilson…FAR worse)

    It seems like it wouldn’t be in the interest of fairness to let the DP slot open up like this.

    As bad as Reyna sucked in MLS, and I mean employee of the month at the Bunny Ranch suckage, it is a bit sad to see someone who more often than not shined bright in the USMNT shirt.


  • papa bear

    @Posted by: Caldwell | July 15, 2008 at 06:14 PM

    are you joking? If, god forbid, I was a RBNY fan I would be elated that one of the biggest money and roster drains on my team was being excised. Don’t confuse elation for their club getting a roster spot at the very least for disrespect for his international career.

    MLS isn’t and shouldn’t be a seniors tour send off love fest for former USMNT players. It’s great when they come back, but the league should be about winning not nostalgia.


  • Mark

    I hope Claudio has a great retirement and enjoys whatever he chooses to do. He was a great player for the Nats and in Europe, but his tenure at Red Bull was disastrous. Too bad the stadium hadn’t been build 3-4 years ago so Reyna would have been playing on a pristine grass field which may have helped him avoid some injuries. Would have been nice to see him go out as a hero in his hometown rather than the bad guy.


  • manchester correspondent

    Sorry to hear this, but I suppose inevitable. We had a similar experience with the man, but there is no doubt that when fit he was a class act, unfortunately it wasn’t often enough.

    Good Luck


  • Sandro

    Sad to see Captain America go!!! but the constant nagging injuries was hurting his legacy. Too bad the Red Bulls did not win a championship during his stint here, but I will never forget what he did to the US Mens National team.

    Thank you Claudio! Thank you for all the wonderful memories!


  • derek

    wow – a lot of disrespect on here. may your legs work as well at his age.

    thanks claudio for all the us games. ’02 especially.


  • mcscheffel

    How sad it s that the greatest field talents the US ever produced (Renya, Ramos, Mathis and O’Brien) spent as much time as they did injured.

    Imagine what 1998-2002 would have looked like with O’Brien as a left back or central mid, Renya central mid, Ramos on the right and Clint Mathis as Attacking mid/Forward. We would have been one of the teams to fear.

    Thank you Claudio for elevating the US game both on the pitch and in the world’s eyes. I am truly saddened that your return to the US was marred by such injury. I will burn a patch of FieldTurf in your honor tonight.

    Sooooooo, Clint Mathis for the remainder of the year followed by Henry in 2009?


  • MiamiAl

    Claudio Reyna was a spoiled brat for his entire career. I will always remember him for two things: him crumpled over as he gave up that goal in the last WC. And how he played defense, which was to raise his hand looking for an offsides call (which never came)as the guy blows by him to score a goal. I wonder if Kenny Arena was ever jealous of Cluadio?


  • Joamiq

    I can’t say I’m happy. But I’m very relieved and looking forward to the future, finally.


  • socmin

    With some notable exceptions, too many people show how classless near-anonymous commenting can be.


  • Mario in SJ

    There is lots of animosity and its understandable when a DP was not able to perform at the level that was expected. Time however is a cruel thing and Reyna was its latest victim.

    However, he was absolutely the best US Player of his generation.

    I for one wish to thank Claudio for all he did for soccer in the US; he will always be remembered as Captain America.

    Thank you Claudio and good luck!!!!!!


  • Scott A

    Thanks Claudio. 2002, the rest of your time with the USMNT, and your club success was amazing to watch. Good luck


  • Jack

    Wow, that mighty Bruce Arena hiring and Reyna deal sure worked out well for the MetroRedBullScumStars.

    That organization will always suck.


  • jig


    Can you please provide concrete examples of Reyna acting like a “spoiled brat”?

    Are you people kidding me? The guy was the heartbeat of our national team for the better part of a decade. God, watch the games. He was the only reason we ever kept the ball and actually maintained possession going forward.

    It’s not his fault that he wanted to play the game he loved in his hometown. And its also not his fault that the highly-competent management at RBNY felt that they needed to pay him millions to do so.

    My greatest memory of Claudio was the US friendly against Holland at Gillette just before WC 2002. Him and Davids–at the time a world classplayer– were getting after each other the entire game, and Reyna more than held his own. Thanks, Claudio, we enjoyed watching you.


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