Joe-Max Moore

Even in retirement, Moore a team player

one of the traits that defined his playing career -- is still as strong as ever. Unfortunately, his right knee refuses to cooperate. After re-injuring the joint that has given him trouble for the past four years, Moore decided it was time to hang up his boots.

Moore's reluctance to let his knee, rather than his heart and mind, dictate his departure from the game showed in his voice shortly after the Revolution announced his retirement.

"Since, basically, turning 30, I've had one problem after another, and it's just very sad for me to end it like this, but it was what I had to do," Moore said. "We've mapped it out, and we've recorded all the problems over the years. I've ripped the same ligament seven or eight times, and since coming back to the league [in 2003] I've hurt that same knee two or three times. It's just been a reoccurring problem."

"It's been a tough decision. I hate to end my career like this."

As Moore's former teammates from the Revolution and the U.S. national team praised his competitive spirit and drive on Thursday, Moore himself acknowledged that the competitive atmosphere is what he will miss most about playing.

"I'll miss everyday I get to wake up and get into the locker room and laugh and joke with the guys, and just the game itself. I love the game," he said. "The everyday life the soccer player gets to enjoy was amazing. I feel very lucky to have lived the life I had through soccer. I'll definitely miss it. I'm already missing it, believe me."

As if to drive home the point that he would do anything to win during his playing career, Moore ignored his personal accomplishments when asked about his most cherished national team memory.

His 24 international goals (third behind Brian McBride and Eric Wynalda in U.S. national team history), his 100 caps, his astonishing four-goal game against El Salvador in 1993 and the goal he scored that sent the U.S. to the 2002 World Cup all took a back seat to the run the team made in South Korea in 2002. Moore played all of 49 minutes in that tournament in two substitute appearances in the group stage.

"Finishing up that strong and doing that well in the 2002 World Cup was without a doubt the highlight for me," Moore said. "There are individual games and goals and things I remember, but the 2002 World Cup was for sure the highlight."

Moore also declined to put his own career in perspective. Though he seems to be a shoo-in for the National Soccer Hall of Fame in three years, he'll let the experts decide where he fits in the annals of U.S. soccer.

"I'll leave that up to the other people to decide. I gave it everything I had from day one. I have no regrets," Moore said. "I'm very happy with the way it's turned out. I accomplished everything I wanted to do in the game."

For the time being, Moore said, he'll concentrate on rehabbing his knee, which he had surgically repaired on Jan. 21. He also has some non-soccer business ventures to attend to, but some day, he said, he'll be back in the game, most likely in a coaching capacity.

"I definitely have a lot to give back and a lot of things to share with the younger players," Moore said.

Jason Halpin is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.