Transfer Tracker

MLS veteran Jalil Anibaba retires, appointed Nashville SC club ambassador

Jalil Anibaba


Journeyman MLS defender Jalil Anibaba, a veteran of 12 seasons with seven different clubs in the league, announced his retirement from professional soccer on Monday.

The 34-year-old will immediately transition to an off-the-field role, joining former team Nashville SC as the organization's first-ever club ambassador.

"The game of football has changed my life forever by taking me and my family to places we could have never envisioned on our own," Anibaba wrote in a farewell message posted on his Twitter account.

"However, it's one that's come to an end as I announce my retirement from Major League Soccer."

The ninth overall pick of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas, Anibaba became an instant starter for the Chicago Fire in his rookie season, spending three years in the Windy City before joining the Seattle Sounders in 2014. His lone campaign with the Rave Green was his most prolific for silverware, as the Sounders won both the Supporters' Shield and US Open Cup title that year.

Additional stops with Sporting Kansas City (where he won the US Open Cup in 2015), Houston Dynamo, New England Revolution and Nashville followed before he signed with the Columbus Crew ahead of last season. He was limited to just 226 minutes in 2022.

In total, he scored 7g/14a in 245 regular-season appearances.

Anibaba's impact during his two-year tenure (2020-21) with Nashville went beyond numbers, forming a close relationship that will continue to grow as he embarks on his post-playing career as club ambassador.

"It is so great to have Jalil rejoin our NSC family," CEO Ian Ayre said in a press release.

"Jalil represents the first of our former players to come back to the club in a business role. His experience in our sport, our league, our club and our community make him the perfect ambassador for Nashville SC.

"Knowing how popular Jalil was as a team member and with our fans makes me feel sure he will quickly re-establish himself here and we could not be more excited about this appointment."