Mehdi Ballouchy - playing for NYCFC in 2015 - solo
USA Today Sports

Mehdi Ballouchy retires from MLS after 11-year career

After a long and well-traveled career, Mehdi Ballouchy has retired from professional soccer.

The 33-year-old, a native of Morocco who moved to the US at age 16, played in 11 MLS seasons after being drafted 2nd overall in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft by Real Salt Lake. He went on to play for the Colorado Rapids, New York Red Bulls, San Jose Earthquakes, Vancouver Whitecaps and New York City FC. 

"As a kid, I played soccer out of pure joy, and today, that remains exactly the same. This game has taught me discipline, given me an education, and over 11 years as a professional, has offered me so much to be grateful for," said Ballouchy in a release. "As I hang up my boots, I want to thank this diverse and amazing sport for all the friends and memories it has given me. While I can't predict what the future holds, one thing remains sure: I will always play soccer and I will play with just as much joy as I did during my childhood. Special thanks to all of my teammates and NYCFC fans – dreams do come true."

A technically gifted attacking midfielder, Ballouchy struggled with injury in his career, as evidenced by the fact that he started 20 games in a season just twice in his, and not since 2009. In 217 games, Ballouchy accrued 16 goals and 26 assists.

Ballouchy is the third player to confirm his departure from New York City FC since their elimination from the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs earlier in this month. Midfielder Frank Lampard announced his departure from the club on Monday, while defender/midfielder Andoni Iraola announced his retirement on Thursday.