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Houston Dynamo defender Eric Brunner announces retirement after seven professional seasons

Houston Dynamo defender Eric Brunner announced Wednesday that he is retiring from professional soccer after a seven-year professional career that included six MLS seasons.

Brunner, 28, appeared in 111 career MLS games, including playoffs. He spent his final two seasons with the Dynamo and was a key part of Houston's run to the 2013 Eastern Conference Championship, starting all five games of their postseason run.

“I want to thank the Houston Dynamo organization for making me a part of the family,” Brunner said in a club statement. “Thank you to all my teammates and coaches who I spent my seven years with. I learned a lot and made many great memories, relationships and friendships. I will be rooting for the Dynamo in the future and rooting for my friends on the field. Finally, thank you to the fans for the support over the years and making me feel at home.”

A native of Dublin, Ohio and a Ohio State University product, Brunner was a mainstay for the Columbus Crew when the club won the 2009 Supporters’ Shield, earning Crew Newcomer of the Year honors after 25 appearances in his first full MLS season.

“I would like to thank Eric for his contributions to the club over the last two seasons,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti said in the club statement. “I appreciate his professionalism, both on and off the field. I’d like to wish him all the best in his future endeavors as he moves on to the next phase of his life.”

Brunner was selected by the Portland Timbers in the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft and led the Timbers in minutes (2,795) in their inaugural MLS season while setting career highs in appearances (32), starts (31) and goals (3).

In college, Brunner was captain for his hometown Buckeyes and led Ohio State to the 2007 NCAA College Cup Final and earned NSCAA All-America first team and College Cup All-Tournament Team honors. Originally drafted by the New York Red Bulls, Brunner played the 2008 season with Miami FC before making his MLS debut with Columbus in 2009.