Longtime Chicago Fire defender Gonzalo Segares announced his retirement on Wednesday, ending a 10-year professional career that saw the Costa Rican left back make 231 appearances for the Men in Red.
Though he’s hanging up his cleats, the 32-year-old Segares will remain on staff with the Fire, moving into a new role as an academy coach and a club ambassador.
“It has been an incredible ride for me, filled with many good memories and amazing moments that I will never forget,” Segares said in a statement released by the Fire. “This game has given me the honor of representing my country, my club and to make my family proud. I leave the sport today knowing that I left it all in the field for them.
“To [Fire owner] Andrew [Hauptman] and the Fire organization, thank you for letting me fulfill my dreams and allowing me to represent this extraordinary institution. I am excited to now begin a new challenge with the Fire.”
Segares began his professional career with the Fire, signing with Chicago after they selected him out of Virginia Commonwealth University with the 35th overall pick in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft. In 10 seasons with Chicago, Segares made 231 regular season appearances, scored 11 goals and tallied 14 assists.
Segares briefly left the Fire in January 2010, signing with Cypriot first division side Apollon Limassol on a free transfer before returning to Chicago in August of that year. He made 19 international appearances for Costa Rica, debuting for Los Ticos in September 2007 and receiving his final cap in December 2011.
“Gonzalo is a player who wore the Fire badge with pride every time he stepped into the field,” Hauptman said in the club’s statement. “For the past 10 years, he played with passion, grit and determination and was always a force for the Club as well as a tremendous ambassador off the field. I look forward to having him continue on as a member of the Fire family and thank him for his meaningful accomplishments.”
The Fire said in their statement that they will announce plans to honor Segares’ playing career at a later date. Segares is the second Fire player to retire and move into the club’s front office this offseason; longtime midfielder Logan Pause ended his playing career after the 2014 season and became a Fire vice president on December 1.