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Chicago Fire defender Cory Gibbs retires

Nov 26, 2012, 4:03 PM EST

Fierro kicks the ball away from Gibbs during their match in Bridgeview

With Cory Gibbs, you always got the unfortunate feeling there was too much left on the table.

Gibbs, the veteran Chicago Fire center back, retired Monday after 12 seasons in professional soccer. The resume will reflect a career with some pretty nifty stops, but for one reason or another, Gibbs never really got the most from time at good clubs in Germany, the Netherlands, England and even here in the States.

When Gibbs first came to MLS from Germany’s St. Pauli, lots of people wondered if the leggy center back truly wanted to be a domestically based player, or if that was just the most expedient way to gain U.S. national team attention? Which he did, to his credit.

But after one successful season in Dallas, Gibbs skipped right back across the Atlantic, landing at Feyenoord when a short training spell morphed quickly into a contract with the Dutch club. (FC Dallas officials were not happy about the way it all unfolded.)

From there, the misfortune was about injuries rather than career choices. Like the U.S. match against Morocco on May 23, 2006. Just days before departure to Germany for the World Cup, Gibbs suffered a knee injury and had to be replaced on Bruce Arena’s roster.

That came after rehabbing an injury suffered in 2005 with the national team.

A subsequent spell at Charlton in London was chewed up completely by injuries.

By the time Gibbs got to Colorado in 2008, he simply was not the same player. He wasn’t bad, and would eventually regain enough confidence and fitness that he was named Chicago’s 2011 Defender of the Year.

Gibbs fell to a season-ending training ground injury in April, so he played in just three matches in his final season with Chicago.

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