Player Details


John Thorrington


5' 8"


150 lbs

Date of Birth

10.17.1979 (41)


Johannesburg, South Africa


2021 MLS Regular Season
2021 MLS Regular Season


Career Summary

An experienced midfielder that enjoyed spells in England and Germany, John Thorrington was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and raised in Palos Verdes Peninsula, California. Thorrington spent time with European clubs Manchester United FC and Bayer Leverkusen before embarking on a career in Major League Soccer with Chicago Fire.


  • 2012: Thorrington appeared in 19 games for the Whitecaps FC, starting 14. Thorrington had one assist, resulting in the first goal of a 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo on 6/1/. D.C. United selected Thorrington in Stage-2 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft on 12/14/12.
  • 2011: Thorrington’s first season with Whitecaps FC saw the midfielder start all but two of his 11 MLS appearances that season, as injuries restricted his availability. His Whitecaps FC debut was as a first-half substitute during a 1-1 home draw versus New England Revolution on Apr. 6. He replaced the injured Terry Dunfield in central midfield at Empire Field. The midfielder's first competitive start for Whitecaps FC came against his former club Chicago Fire on Aug. 7. Thorrington played the first half of Vancouver's 4-2 home win over Chicago at Empire Field. His performances in Week 31 helped the midfielder earn a place in the Team of the Week. On Dec. 5, Thorrington signed a new MLS contract with Whitecaps FC.
  • 2010: Injury problems restricted the midfielder to just five starts in his final season with Chicago, with his only goal coming from the penalty spot in a 2-1 defeat at Seattle Sounders FC on Aug. 28. On Nov. 24, Whitecaps FC acquired the midfielder during the 2010 MLS Expansion Draft.
  • 2009: Thorrington started all 19 of his appearances for Chicago that season, with the midfielder recording an assist in a 2-1 defeat at D.C. United on June 13. He also started one match in Group A of the North American SuperLiga competition, with the Fire reaching the final before losing to Mexican club Tigres de la Universitad de Nuevo León (UANL). On Nov. 7, the midfielder scored in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against New England Revolution, with the Fire winning the series 3-2 on aggregate.
  • 2008: Fully recovered from his leg injury, Thorrington started all but two of his 23 regular season appearances for the Fire that season. His five goals included a two-goal performance in a 2-1 home win over Colorado Rapids on Apr. 26, and a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win at New England Revolution on May 3. The midfielder also scored the winning goals in a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC on July 12 and a 1-0 win at Los Angeles Galaxy on Aug. 21. His efforts earned him the MLS Player of the Week award for Week 16. Thorrington also started both legs of the Eastern Conference Semifinals versus New England Revolution on Oct. 30 and Nov. 6, as well as the Eastern Conference Championship defeat at Columbus Crew on Nov. 13. He also played in the 2-1 extra-time defeat at D.C. United in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on July 8.
  • 2007: The midfielder spent much of the 2007 season recovering from his right leg injury, with Thorrington re-signing with Chicago on Sept. 14 after being waived by the Fire on Mar. 5. On Oct. 21, he came off the substitutes' bench to score the match winner over Los Angeles Galaxy in second-half time added on. He also briefly appeared in the first leg of Eastern Conference Semifinals versus D.C. United, as the Fire won 1-0 at home on Oct. 25. Chicago won the series 3-2 on aggregate.
  • 2006: The midfielder endured a tough second season with the Fire, as a broken right leg and knee sprain sustained in training on June 8 had him sidelined for 10 weeks and restricted him to just two regular season appearances.
  • 2005: After eight years playing in Europe, Thorrington returned home to the United States and Major League Soccer by joining Chicago Fire. The midfielder started half of his eight regular season appearances for the Illinois outfit, with his MLS debut coming in a 3-0 defeat versus New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls) on May 14. His first MLS goal proved to be the match winner in a 1-0 victory over Los Angeles Galaxy on Aug. 13. Thorrington also helped the Fire reach the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup after starting two of Chicago's four matches in the competition. This included a role in the Fire's equalizer at former United Soccer Leagues First Division side Rochester Rhinos in the quarterfinals on Aug. 24. After a 1-1 extra-time draw, Chicago won 5-4 on penalties in Upstate New York.


  • 2011: Thorrington made his debut for Whitecaps FC reserves during a 2-2 home draw versus LA Galaxy reserves at Empire Field on July 31.
  • 2008: The midfielder made one start for the Fire reserves. 2007: Thorrington registered four goals and an assist in four reserve appearances for Chicago that year. 2006: The midfielder made two appearances during his second season with the Fire reserves.
  • 2005: In the inaugural season of the MLS Reserve Division, Thorrington made three starts for Chicago Fire reserves, with his first appearance for the club coming in the Fire reserves' 1-0 defeat at New England Revolution on May 8.


  • 2003-04: Thorrington made just five league appearances in Division Three for Huddersfield that season. His last goal for The Terriers came in the first round of the English League Cup, as Huddersfield knocked off Division One side Derby County FC 2-1 at home on Aug. 12, 2003. On transfer deadline day (Mar. 11, 2004), the midfielder returned to Division Two when he joined Grimsby Town FC. Thorrington made three appearances for The Mariners, with his Grimsby debut coming on Mar. 13, 2004, in a 1-1 home draw with AFC Bournemouth. The midfielder was unable to help keep Grimsby in Division Two, as they were relegated at season's end.
  • 2002-03: Thorrington endured a more challenging second season with Huddersfield, as The Terriers suffered relegation to the fourth-tier Football League Division Three (now English League Two) at the end of the campaign. He 31 appearances, with his only league goal that year coming in a 2-1 defeat at Plymouth Argyle FC on Aug. 13, 2002. The midfielder started the first-round defeat at Wrexham FC in English League Trophy on Oct. 22, 2002. He also made a substitute appearance in the English League Cup and the English FA Cup first-round defeat at Swindon Town FC on Nov. 16, 2002.
  • 2001-02: After not making a first-team appearance at Manchester United FC and Bayer Leverkusen, Thorrington joined Huddersfield Town FC on a free transfer in the summer of 2001. Playing in England's third-tier Football League Division Two (now English League One), the midfielder made his Terriers debut on opening day, as Huddersfield defeated AFC Bournemouth 1-0 at home on Aug. 11, 2001. His first goal for the West Yorkshire outfit came on Sept. 2, 2001, in a 2-1 home win over Wycombe Wanderers FC. He also appeared in the 1-0 home defeat to Division Three side Rochdale FC in the first round of the English League Cup on Aug. 21, 2001, and scored in the penalty shootout win at home to Division Three club Halifax Town FC in the first round (northern section) of the English Football League Trophy on Oct. 16, 2001. With a sixth-place finish in the Division Two standings, Huddersfield reached the end-of-season promotion playoffs, with Thorrington appearing in both legs of the playoff semifinal defeat to Brentford FC on Apr. 28 and May 1, 2002.
  • 2000-01: Following his spell in Germany, Thorrington had a short trial with Bolton Wanderers FC of the second-tier English Football League Division One (now English League Championship).
  • 1997-99: Thorrington became the youngest American player to sign for an English Premier League club when he joined Manchester United FC as a 17-year-old. The midfielder spent three years with the English giants, having appeared with United's reserve side before departing to Germany and Bayer Leverkusen in 1999.


  • After spending time at English Premier League giants Manchester United FC, Thorrington moved to Germany and joined Bundesliga powerhouse Bayer Leverkusen in 1999. He played alongside fellow American and MLS campaigner Landon Donovan in Bayer's reserve side before returning to England during the 2000-01 season.


  • Though born in South Africa, Thorrington chose to represent the United States after securing his American citizenship in January 1999.
  • Senior: The midfielder has made four appearances at the senior international level for the USA, with his debut coming as a substitute in a 1-1 friendly draw with Ecuador in Columbus, Ohio, on June 7, 2001. The midfielder also appeared in two CONCACAF qualifying matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. They included the 1-0 away win over Barbados in the first leg of the Stage Two qualifying playoff on June 22, 2008, and the 2-0 home win over Guatemala in semifinal stage Group One in Commerce City, Colorado, on Nov. 19. His last appearance for the Americans came on Jan. 24, 2009, as the USA defeated Sweden 3-2 in a friendly in Carson, California.
  • U-23: Thorrington made four appearances for the USA U-23 Olympic team, helping Clive Charles' squad reach the final of the 2000 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The midfielder scored in a 3-0 final-round victory over Honduras on Apr. 20, 2000. Though the Americans secured their spot in the 2000 Men's Olympic Football Tournament in Sydney, Australia, Thorrington missed the Sydney Olympics after suffering a hamstring injury in the build-up.
  • U-20: The midfielder made his USA debut with the U-20 squad in a 1-0 friendly win over Denmark on Jan. 24, 1999, before scoring his first international goal during a 1-1 friendly draw with Morocco on Mar. 10. Led by current Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid, Thorrington was a member of the USA squad that reached Round of 16 at the 1999 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Nigeria. The midfielder started three of the Americans' four matches at Nigeria 1999.

Before making his move to England and Manchester United FC, Thorrington was named California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division V Player of the Year as a member of Chadwick School Dolphins boys soccer team in 1996 and 1997.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, the midfielder moved to the United States with his family and settled in Palos Verdes Peninsula, California, which is located just south of the city of Los Angeles. As a student, he attended Chadwick School in Palos Verdes Peninsula, California, before moving to England in 1997. In January 1999, the midfielder acquired United States citizenship. His parents are Monique and Peter Thorrington.

The midfielder lists Manchester United legend Eric Cantona as his favourite all-time player. When not concentrating on his soccer career, Thorrington enjoys cooking, reading, surfing, and travelling. His favourite movies include 'The Usual Suspects', 'Anchorman', and 'Braveheart'. The midfielder also donates his time and service to a handful of community and charitable organizations. They have included The Joshua Center, Opportunity International, and Gospel for Asia.



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