Former Seattle Sounder and fan favorite James Riley announced his retirement from Major League Soccer.
On Thursday, former Sounder James Riley officially announced his retirement with a video he posted on social media.
After spending the 2015 season with his hometown club the Colorado Rapids and not having his option picked up, Riley decide to hang up his soccer cleats after playing 11 years in the MLS. Even though he won’t be on the field anymore, he will still be extremely involved in the league as he was hired as the newest director of player relations for the MLS front office.
The league are signing a lot of Homegrowns, and we need to make sure that we have things in place, programs in place that are going to help create and cultivate the players that we want from those signings. An important side of that is life skills, basic life skills that either you learn in college or take 11 years to learn in the league. We want to kind of help expedite that process so that they can be the best pro that they can be. We want to be intentional about that, and I think that’s a huge step that the league’s taking.
And I think it’s going to be important to have exit strategies for current players that have grinded through careers and given a lot to the league and kind of been silent heroes and the glue of the league. I think that domestic players are sometimes kind of taken for granted, but for me it’s kind of the glue of the league. So we want to be able to have exit strategies for them, identify them for possibly executive track in a club, a coaching opportunity or maybe a broadcasting opportunity.
Riley played for Seattle for 3 seasons and quickly became a fan favorite. He played in 84 matches for the Sounders and scored one goal for the Rave Green. After leaving Seattle, Riley never stayed with one team more than one year but Sounders fans always enjoyed seeing him come back and play at CenturyLink Field. We look forward to seeing him use his playing experience to help players across the league.