New England Revolution forward Joe-Max Moore announced his retirement from professional soccer on Thursday after a stellar career during which he played in three World Cups and used his star power to help establish Major League Soccer as an enduring presence on the American sports scene. Moore ends his career as the Revolution's all-time leading scorer with 117 points (41G, 35A).
Moore, 33, had reconstructive surgery on the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee last Friday, January 21. Revolution team physician Bertram Zarins performed the procedure at Massachusetts General Hospital.
"After numerous attempts to strengthen and stabilize my knee through rehab, it became clear that I had no alternative but to have reconstructive surgery. Considering my age and the recovery time necessary, I have decided to end my playing career," Moore wrote in a letter to fans and the soccer community. "I move forward with peace of mind, knowing that I gave everything as a player and that every attempt was made to return to the field. I would like to express my gratitude to Major League Soccer for allowing me to play professionally in this country and to the New England Revolution, the Kraft family, and the New England fans for their never-ending support."
"Joe-Max has been an exemplary professional and one of the great stars of his generation of American soccer players," said Kraft Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "Joe-Max's name is synonymous with the growth of the sport of soccer in our country. The Revolution organization wishes Joe-Max as much success going forward as he's had on the field."
Moore joined the Revolution midway through the 1996 season, during the inaugural year of MLS. He quickly emerged as a fan favorite with his skillful play and relentless hustle. After being named the team's MVP in 1996, Moore went on to play parts of six more seasons with New England (1996-99; 2002-04), again being named team MVP in 1998 and leading the team in scoring in 1999. From 1999-2001 Moore played for Everton FC of the English Premier League, making him one of the first American players to earn a contract in one of the world's top soccer leagues.
Moore, who was twice named an All-America at UCLA, finished his U.S. Men's National Team career with 100 caps, having appeared in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cup Finals. His total of 24 international goals places him second all-time in that category for the U.S. No goal scored by Moore for his country was more vital than the penalty kick he converted on October 7, 2001 at Foxboro Stadium to defeat Jamaica and clinch qualifying for the U.S. in the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. Moore also played for the U.S. Olympic soccer team in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
In addition to his time with the Revolution and Everton, Moore played professionally with FC Saarbruecken and FC Nürenberg in Germany and Emelec in Ecuador.