Gaven announces retirement after an eleven-year career

Gaven announces retirement after an eleven-year career

MLS- Columbus Crew

Gaven announces retirement after an eleven-year career

Eddie Gaven

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Eddie Gaven has decided to hang up his boots.

After an eleven year career that began as a baby-faced 16-year-old with the MetroStars and finished as a grizzled veteran with the Columbus Crew, the now 27-year-old Gaven announced his retirement from professional soccer on Thursday, citing personal reasons.

Gaven’s last match was on May 29, 2013 in a 2-1 victory for the Crew against the Dayton Dutch Lions in the U.S. Open Cup, though he went down with a season-ending knee injury during the match.

“I would like to thank my teammates, the Crew organization and the fans for all their support over the years,” Gaven said in a statement on the Crew’s website. “I will always cherish the memories, especially winning MLS Cup in 2008. I am incredibly blessed to have been a professional soccer player and am extremely grateful to MLS and the Crew for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream. For personal reasons, I will be retiring from professional soccer.

“I realize this may come as a surprise, but it is something I have been contemplating for some time, and after discussing it thoroughly with my family, I know in my heart that now is the right time to start the next chapter in my life.

“I wish the Crew nothing but the best moving forward. Thank you.”

Gaven finishes his time in Columbus with 209 appearances and 17,252 minutes played, good for third on the club’s all time list. In total, Gaven’s stat line reads as follows: 278 games played, of which 260 were starts. 51 goals scored, 37 assists, and zero red cards. His trophy cabinet includes an MLS Cup title and two MLS Supporters Shields, all won with the Crew.

The New Jersey born and bred midfielder made headlines back in 2003 by being the youngest (at the time) player to sign with MLS, at 16 years and two months old, before being selected with the No. 12 pick in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. Gaven is vividly remembered by long-time MLS fans for the game he scored his first professional goal in, against D.C. United.

Then-MetroStars head coach Bob Bradley found a loophole in the rules that allowed him to bring Gaven in the game as an emergency replacement for then-goalkeeper Tim Howard. Instead, Howard stayed in the game, Gaven came on and switched with Howard after a minute, and then in overtime Gaven went on to score the game-winning-goal.

Gaven lasted just three years with the MetroStars, having been sent as a 19-year-old to the Columbus Crew with defender Chris Leitch in exchange for Edson Buddle in 2006. With the Crew, Gaven would flourish into a two-way midfielder who was a great example to the team on and off the field. Gaven’s best season statistically came in 2012, when he scored nine goals to go with two assists.

While maturing in MLS, Gaven was a key member of the U.S. youth teams, from the side that played at the U-17 World Cup in 2003 to squad that played in the 2005 U-20 World Cup. Though not a regular by any means, Gaven did earn eight caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team between 2004-2010, including appearing in two games at the 2007 Copa America and his final appearance, a 1-0 win in South Africa in November, 2010, where he went the full 90 minutes.

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