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DC United defender McTavish announces retirement

D.C. United bid farewell to one of their longest-tenured and most versatile players on Thursday, when defender Devon McTavish announced his retirement from professional soccer.

The 27-year-old, who helped D.C. claim back-to-back Supporters’ Shields in 2006 and 2007, as well as the 2008 US Open Cup, cited health reasons as the factor.

“I feel good [about the decision],” McTavish said in a club statement. “I have to take care of my body, and after talking to a doctor, I have taken his advice. I thought long and hard about it and just decided that it’s time to quit playing the game – mostly for health reasons.”

McTavish suffered a concussion in a friendly match during United’s preseason and was sidelined from action until a Reserve League match in early August. Although he recovered and regained full fitness, the defender didn’t see the pitch in MLS play all season.

He joined the Black-and-Red as a 2006 Supplemental Draft pick and his six years with the team were the most behind midfielder Clyde Simms seven seasons. In all, McTavish played 85 games (70 starts) as either a center back, fullback, defensive midfielder or winger. His lone goal for D.C. came in 2008.

“Devon was the first guy I knew that played for D.C. that grew up a D.C. United fan,” said head coach Ben Olsen. “On the field, his versatility always seemed to bail us out, and you couldn’t find a better teammate. Off the field his commitment to the community was the best I’ve seen in my time here and he seemed to always cherish being a part of this club in a way I hope our current and future players embrace.”

With his career as a professional soccer player over, McTavish will now explore what else is out there.

“[The transition to a different line of work] will be scary, but at the same time I’m looking at it as a wonderful opportunity to try to see what else I can do out there,” McTavish said. “I was extremely lucky to be able to play six years of professional soccer. I don’t know what lies ahead for me in terms of the next professional career, but I’m excited to see what else is out there and to see what else I may be good at.”