Mar 31, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT
Four times capped by the United States in a career constantly shafted by injuries, midfielder John Thorrington has retired from playing and taken a job with the Major League Soccer Players Union.
Thorrington, 34, became the youngest American to sign for a Premier League club in 1997 when he linked up with Manchester United. He never played for the Red Devils before transferring to Bayer Leverkusen, where he also did not play.
He came back to England to score seven goals in 67 matches for Huddersfield Town, spending a short time with Grimsby Town before coming home to MLS in 2005. He would become a fixture for the Chicago Fire and also played for Vancouver and DC United, winning the U.S. Open Cup with Chicago in 2006 and DC this past season.
“John gave everything he had on every play on every team he ever played for,” D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen said in a statement. “It was a pleasure being around him for a short time in DC, and I wish him nothing but the best in his new role at the Players Union.”
He’ll be a special assistant to players union executive director Bob Foose.
“I’d like to thank my teammates, coaches, and the fans who have made this experience what it was,” Thorrington said in a statement. “I feel very blessed to have had the privilege of playing for 17 years, and I could not have done it, nor would I have enjoyed it as much, were it not for their support.
“Special thanks go to my wife Krista and my family, who have encouraged and inspired me through it all. I am grateful to the MLS Players Union and excited for this opportunity to help continue the development of the league in a new capacity.”
Thorrington started a match for the U.S. in the qualifying for the 2010 World Cup and appeared four times for his nation overall. He was born in South Africa.
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