Herculez Gomez just won an MLS Cup crown, and he is riding off into the sunset with it.
ESPN announced on Tuesday afternoon that Gomez has joined its team as a soccer analyst and has retired from professional soccer. The 34-year-old forward’s decision to hang up his cleats in order to be in the studio for English and Spanish-language programs comes after he helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup last month.
“I am excited and tremendously honored for this opportunity to join the exceptional ESPN soccer content team,” said Gomez in a statement released by the sports network. “I hope to transfer the qualities that made me successful on the field to my new team and the next phase of my career. My new role as a studio analyst will keep me involved in the sport I love, a sport that has provided me with so many great memories and lasting friendships.”
Gomez pieced together a successful career that saw him win individual awards and team championships. He first won the MLS Cup and a U.S. Open Cup title in 2005 while with the LA Galaxy. Gomez then became the co-Golden Boot winner in his first season in Liga MX with Pachuca in 2010, and that helped him win a place on the U.S. Men’s National Team’s World Cup roster that summer. He played in three of the Americans’ four games in the quadrennial tournament in South Africa, and finished his international career with 24 caps and six goals.
Gomez also won the Liga MX Clausura title with Santos Laguna in 2012 and then claimed the Copa MX Clausura with Puebla when he returned on loan in 2015. He returned to MLS in 2015 by joining Toronto, but moved to the Sounders a year later and hoisted another MLS Cup trophy in December.
Earthquakes bring back Wynne, Thompson on new deals
For a moment it looked like Marvell Wynne and Tommy Thompson would have to change addresses this offseason. They are not going anywhere, however.
The Earthquakes announced on Tuesday that they have signed both Wynne and Thompson to new multi-year contracts. Wynne was out of contract and Thompson had his option for 2017 declined earlier this offseason by the Earthquakes, but the club was able to come to terms on new deals with both of them to ensure that they would remain at Avaya Stadium.
Wynne, 30, has been an ironman in defense since arriving to San Jose ahead of the 2015 campaign. In his two seasons with the Earthquakes, the versatile veteran has appeared in 65 of their 68 regular-season matches and delivered three assists.
The 21-year-old Thompson, meanwhile, has played in 47 games with the Earthquakes since becoming their first Homegrown Player in 2014. Last year, the winger made nine starts in 17 appearances.
“Re-signing Marvell was always a priority for us,” said Earthquakes technical director Chris Leitch in a statement released by the club. “His speed, aggressiveness and ability to play multiple positions across the back line undoubtedly makes us a stronger and deeper club.”
“Tommy has shown a lot of promise in his first few seasons with the club and is a big part of the young core group of players we want to build around moving forward,” added Leitch. “We felt it was important to restructure his contract to ensure he remains in a Quakes kit for years to come.”
Here are more news and notes from around MLS:
Five Eastern Conference clubs to partake in Suncoast Invitational
A handful of MLS clubs will wrap up their preseason preparations in St. Petersburg, Florida, next month.
It was announced on Tuesday afternoon that the Tampa Bay Rowdies will be hosting the second annual Rowdies Suncoast Invitational from Feb. 18-25, and the five MLS sides that will join the USL club in competing in the event are the Chicago Fire, D.C. United, Montreal Impact, Philadelphia Union, and Toronto FC.
The full match schedule, which is subject to change, is below:
Saturday, February 18 – Al Lang Stadium
Montreal Impact vs. D.C. United, 5 p.m.
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 22 – Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex
Philadelphia Union vs. Montreal Impact – 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 25 – Al Lang Stadium
Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire, 3 p.m.
Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United, 5 p.m.
Tampa Bay vs. Montreal Impact, 7:30 p.m.