Philadelphia Union midfielder Brian Carroll today announced his retirement from professional soccer. Effective following the Union’s regular-season finale, this Sunday vs. Orlando City SC at Talen Energy Stadium, Carroll retires having won MLS Cup twice, with D.C. United in 2004 and Columbus in 2008. He has also won the Supporters’ Shield four times, all consecutively, with D.C. in 2006 and 2007 as well as with Columbus in 2008 and 2009. No other player in league history is believed to have accomplished that feat.
To date, he has made 370 Major League Soccer appearances (345 starts) with nine goals and 17 assists, tied for fourth on the league’s all-time appearances list with Chad Marshall, behind only Kyle Beckerman (430), Brad Davis (392) and Steve Ralston (378). He ranks sixth all-time in minutes played in MLS (30,778), trailing Beckerman (35,930), Ralston (33,143), Chad Marshall (32,449), Bobby Boswell (32,216) and Drew Moor (31,124).
“As I look back on 15 years in MLS, it’s been a fun ride: I’ve had a lot of great teammates and great coaches, and I had the privilege to represent a number of great cities and clubs,” said Carroll. “I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity, and I really enjoyed it. It was fun to win two MLS Cups and four Supporters’ Shields, and along the way, to do my best to help grow the game and Major League Soccer.”
Continued Carroll: “As I close this chapter, I want to thank, first and foremost, my parents and my family for their support over the years. I also want to thank D.C. United, Columbus Crew SC and the Philadelphia Union for giving me opportunities. I’m especially thankful to Philadelphia, as this has become a second home for our family. As I wrap up, I believe it’s now time for me to follow another passion of mine, financial planning, as we plan to move to the Indianapolis area and get started on the next chapter.”
A native of Springfield, Virginia, Carroll first entered MLS as the 11th overall selection in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft by D.C. United. He became a regular for the Black-and-Red in his sophomore season, making 30 league appearances in 2004. In the 2004 MLS Cup Playoffs, he started all four games in which he appeared, recording one assist en route to helping D.C. United win the MLS Cup. That season began a stretch for Carroll where, for three different clubs, he would make at least 21 appearances in 13 consecutive seasons from 2004-2016.
“Brian Carroll is a consummate professional, meticulous in his preparation, and a true icon in both Philadelphia Union and MLS history,” said Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. “His veteran leadership has meant so much for our young players both on and off the field, and the trophies that he has won in this league speak for themselves in terms of his quality. On behalf of the entire Philadelphia Union organization, we’d like to congratulate Brian on a successful career and wish him all the best in the next phase of his life.”
After his MLS Cup triumph, Carroll would play three more seasons for D.C. United, winning the Supporters’ Shield in both 2006 and 2007. Ahead of the 2008 season, he was selected by San Jose in the MLS Expansion Draft, and then traded to Columbus in exchange for Kei Kamara. During his first season in Black & Gold, he helped the team win the Supporters’ Shield, and then played every minute of every match in the 2008 MLS Cup Playoffs as Columbus won the championship. Following the season, he was named the CSF Crew Chiefs Hardest Working Man of the Year and was the co-recipient (with Alejandro Moreno) of the Crew Coaches Award.
In 2009, Carroll’s second year in Columbus, he won the Supporters’ Shield for the fourth season in a row, believed to be the only MLS player to ever achieve that distinction. He would play an additional season in Columbus before being traded to Philadelphia ahead of the 2011 campaign. Playing seven seasons with the Union, Carroll is the all-time club leader in minutes played (13,818) and matches started (156). He also ranks second in appearances (165).
“Brian Carroll is the definition of what it means to be a professional,” said Union Head Coach Jim Curtin. “From D.C. to Columbus as well as from the Union to the U.S. National Team, his trophies and caps only tell a part of the story. He served as a mentor to players young and old, and he always played the game the right way. It was a privilege to have played against him as well as to have coached him throughout the years.”
“Brian has had a fantastic career spanning many different phases of our league’s development and all of Major League Soccer is indebted to him for his years of humble service,” added Union Technical Director Chris Albright. “I had the privilege of working with BC on multiple levels but no honor was greater than that of a teammate and a friend. The game will miss him greatly and I wish him my best in his future endeavors.”
At the international level, Carroll has earned eight international caps with the U.S. National Team. In 2001, he spent the spring with the U.S. U-20s competing at the World Youth Championships. He made appearances with the U-23s as well, including in the 2004 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament. In 2005, he earned his first call-up to the senior team, making his debut appearance against Panama in a World Cup qualification match on October 12, 2005. His final appearance for the U.S. came on November 17, 2010 in a 1-0 win over South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
Collegiately, Carroll finished his three-year career at Wake Forest having started all 61 matches in which he appeared. He received various honors during his collegiate career, including NSCAA All-America third team, MAC Hermann Trophy Finalist, NSCAA All-South first team (twice) and All-ACC second team. He was a captain of the team during his final two seasons, in 2001 and 2002.
The Union’s final regular-season match of the 2017 campaign is this Sunday, October 22 at Talen Energy Stadium vs. Orlando City SC (4:00 p.m. ET / NBC Sports Philadelphia +).