L.A.'s Herzog announces retirement

Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Andreas Herzog has retired from professional soccer, the club and the veteran midfielder announced Wednesday. Herzog played for the Galaxy in 2004 after a stellar 17-year career in the German and Austrian Bundesligas.

"We are extremely thankful for all that Andy has given to the Galaxy in his short time with us," said Galaxy President and General Manager Doug Hamilton. "Over the past year, his leadership both on and off the field has set a great example for the rest of his teammates to follow. We wish him all the best wherever the future may take him."

Herzog, the first Austrian to ever play in Major League Soccer, joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in February of 2004 when he signed as a Discovery Player. He played in 27 regular season matches - made 25 starts - and registered four goals and seven assists for 15 points, third-best on the Galaxy. Additionally, he played in the Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game alongside the best in MLS, including teammates Chris Albright, Jovan Kirovski and Carlos Ruiz. He capped-off his sensational career in the Western Conference Championship game against the Kansas City Wizards on November 5.

"I would like to thank the Galaxy for the opportunity they gave to come here this year," said Herzog. "After traveling to each city in the League and visiting each stadium, I have no doubt that this is the best (soccer) organization in the United States. It does not surprise me that their goal is nothing less than an MLS championship each season."

A creative, playmaking midfielder, Herzog performed at the highest levels for both club and country over the course of his illustrious career. In 1996, he captured a UEFA Cup with Bayern Munich. The midfielder was also a two-time FIFA World Cup finalist, having represented Austria at Italia 1990 and France 1998.

The 36-year-old Herzog joined the Galaxy after spending a total of seven seasons in the Austrian Bundesliga and ten seasons in German Bundesliga, playing in 403 games and scoring 99 goals during that period.

"We are disappointed that Andy has decided to formally announce his retirement," said Galaxy Head Coach Steve Sampson. "We consider him a consummate professional who meant a lot to our club this season and we are honored that he chose to culminate a stellar career with us. We are sad to see him go."

The 6-0, 176-pound midfielder spent time with Rapid Vienna (1987-1988, 1988-92, 2003) and a brief stint with First Vienna (early in his career). During those stints in his first division in his homeland, the former Austrian international played in 139 games, scoring 39 goals.

Herzog also played for eight seasons in the German Bundesliga with SV Werder Bremen (1992-1995 and 1997-2002) and two with Bayern Munich (1995-1997), scoring 69 goals in 264 games in the top German league. The Vienna native helped guide Bayern Munich to a UEFA Cup title in 1996, lifting the cup with legendary German teammates Jürgen Klinsmann and Lothar Matthaus.

MLS Cup 2004 will be played at The Home Depot Center on Sunday, November 14 at 12:30 pm (PT). Tickets are still available for those fans looking to come out to Carson on Sunday afternoon to catch the League's ninth championship game and the crown jewel of American soccer. For more information or to purchase tickets to this sure to be memorable match, please call the Galaxy toll-free at 1-877-3GALAXY.