Just announced a short while ago, Jimmy Conrad has decided to retire as a player in Major League Soccer. The Chivas USA defender will appear in a press conference tomorrow at the Home Depot Center to make the announcement. It is a blow to the team and league, as Conrad has been a prominent player and personality in the league for 13 seasons. The main motivation for his retirement is health reasons, as he hasn't played since the second game of the season, a 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids back on March 26 after suffering a concussion, just the latest in a series over his career. Conrad returned to practice in May and seemed close to a comeback, but had a setback and it has since seemed unlikely he would feature again this season for the Goats. Because of the severity of the injury, it is not exactly surprising Conrad is hanging it up, as he follows other high profile MLS players, like Taylor Twellman and Alecko Eskandarian, forced into retirement for concussion problems.Although it is sad to see Conrad stop playing under these circumstances, he will continue with the team as part of the coaching staff. Conrad served as an assistant coach against Sporting Kansas City last month, and despite not seeing playing time has been involved with the team all season even while sidelined. This position as a coach may help Conrad decide if he wants to go in a coaching track in the future or if he wants to try something else. On twitter today, many fans have nominated Conrad as a color commentator next season, especially with NBC's new contract with the league. Conrad is a character in a league that often lacks entertaining personalities, so it seems like it could work, although he would need to give it a shot before seeing if he has the skills to be a good television personality. Certainly it seems like he has the ability to eclipse some of the ex-players already working on television.
Above all, Conrad did not have much of a presence on the field for Chivas USA, as he was obtained last offseason, but he was a five-time MLS all-star, MLS defender of the year in 2005 and a U.S. international, playing in the 2006 World Cup. But he was highly regarded as soon as he arrived in Los Angeles, as he was named the captain from the start of the season, and brought in to provide experience to the defense. He will certainly be missed, as the team is surely worse off without him. But on the bright side, they have been coping pretty much all season without him, and the backups have really stepped up in his absence.
More on this tomorrow after the press conference. What do you think of Conrad's retirement? Leave a comment below!