Two-time MLS Cup champion midfielder Ned Grabavoy, of the Portland Timbers, announced Tuesday he will retire at the conclusion of the 2016 season, ending an MLS career that lasted for 13 seasons.
"I've put a tremendous amount, physically and mentally, into this sport over a long stretch of years, and as difficult as this decision was, I know in my heart this is the right time for me to step away from the game that I love,'' Grabavoy, 33, said. "I feel truly fortunate to have spent 13 seasons with some of the best clubs in Major League Soccer, and having played a role in the growth of this league is something I'm very proud of. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have spent my final season with the Portland Timbers organization, a club I believe is one of the most special and unique in Major League Soccer.
"I cannot thank my family enough for their support and the endless sacrifices they've made throughout the years to not only put me in a position to succeed, but provide me the opportunity to enjoy playing the game as long as I have. Although I'm saying goodbye to the playing phase of my career, I'm excited and eager for the challenges that await me.''
Grabavoy is one of 39 players to appear in 300 MLS games, having played in 301 games (225 starts) for six different clubs in his career. He appeared in 22 games for the Timbers this year, mostly coming off the bench (five starts). In his career, he has 17 goals and 31 assists in the regular season, plus two goals in 18 playoff games.
The 5-7, 160-pounder from Joliet, Ill., primarily a wide midfielder, was originally the 14th pick overall by the LA Galaxy in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft and played two-and-a-half seasons there before being traded to the Columbus Crew in 2007. After a season-and-a-half there, he spent 2008 with the San Jose Earthquakes before playing six seasons for Real Salt Lake, where he scored 10 goals and had 14 assists in 159 games. In 2015, he was the second overall pick in the Expansion Draft, by New York City FC, and he had two goals and three assists in 26 appearances (22 starts) with the club before signing with Portland as a free agent this season.
Grabavoy won MLS Cup with the Galaxy in 2005, when LA also won the U.S. Open Cup. He won again in 2009 with Real Salt Lake and was on the RSL team that were runners-up in 2013 to D.C. United. Before turning professional, the former U.S. Youth international played three seasons of college soccer at the University of Indiana, helping them win an NCAA title in 2003.
"On behalf of the organization, I would like to thank Ned for choosing to play for the Portland Timbers during his final season, and congratulate him on a long and successful MLS career,'' Gavin Wilkinson, the Timbers' GM and President of Soccer, said of Grabavoy. "Ned is a consummate and cerebral professional, traits that will serve him well as he transitions into his chosen career.''