Longtime MLS defender Nat Borchers announced his retirement on Friday, bringing an end to a 14-year professional career that included two MLS Cup titles and one MLS Best XI selection.
Borchers last played for the Portland Timbers, helping the club to raise MLS Cup in 2015 and filling a key role for the club in 2016 before tearing his Achilles in July. The 35-year-old will continue his association with the Timbers as part of the club’s broadcast team while remaining actively involved with the organization’s community platform, Stand Together. He’ll be recognized at Providence Park during the Timbers’ home match against Houston on March 18.
“I have given the game everything and will step away extremely grateful to have played 14 professional seasons. While this decision was tremendously difficult, I am proud of my contribution to this chapter of Major League Soccer,” Borchers said, in a statement released by the Timbers. “I played for three well-respected MLS clubs, experienced playing abroad, and made some incredible relationships. To be a professional athlete is a privilege, but I didn’t get here alone. Thank you to my family, friends, coaches, teammates and fans for their support throughout my career. I am excited for the future challenges that await.”
Borchers totaled 386 professional appearances across his 14-year career. He started all but one of his 340 appearances in MLS, logging more than 2,000 minutes in 11 consecutive seasons and becoming one of only six field players in MLS history to play more than 30,000 minutes. Despite going undrafted out of the University of Denver in 2003, the Pueblo, Colorado native is tied for sixth in MLS history with 339 regular-season starts and made 11 trips to the postseason in 12 MLS seasons.
Borchers began his career with the Colorado Rapids, tallying 83 appearances in three seasons with the club before moving to Norwegian side Odd Grenland – now known as Odds BK – in 2006. He spent two seasons in Norway, making 42 appearances for Odd before returning to MLS to join Real Salt Lake in 2008.
He spent the bulk of his career in Utah, appearing in 205 regular-season matches and 19 MLS Cup Playoff games with RSL. He helped the club to the 2009 MLS Cup title, was named to the MLS Best XI in 2010 and played critical roles in the team’s runs to the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League Final, 2013 US Open Cup Final and 2013 MLS Cup Final.
After seven seasons – and seven playoff appearances – in Salt Lake, Borchers was traded to Portland following the 2014 season. He was instrumental to the Timbers’ 2015 title run, appearing and starting in 31 regular-season matches before starting all six of their playoff games en route to the championship. He made 21 more starts in 2016 before the Achilles' tear ended his season, and ultimately his career, in July.
Borchers made three appearances with the US national team, debuting in 2005 and receiving his final cap in November 2010.
“Nat Borchers will forever be etched in Portland Timbers history for the role he played in helping the club win the 2015 MLS Cup," said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “More than that, he’s shown throughout his career with every club that he’s a first-class professional, on and off the pitch. We look forward to his continued involvement with the Timbers."