Onstad retires, will take DC coaching spot

Longtime Dynamo veteran joins United as goalkeepers coach

One of the preeminent figures of Major League Soccer goalkeeping called it a career on Tuesday, as longtime San Jose Earthquakes and Houston Dynamo stalwart Pat Onstad announced his retirement after seven seasons in the league.

Onstad, who will turn 43 next month, will join the D.C. United coaching staff as the goalkeepers coach. The Dynamo did not pick up the option on Onstad’s contract following the 2010 season, and no MLS team took a shot on the three-time MLS Cup winner in the ensuing Re-Entry Draft.

“I’m really excited to work with [DC coach Ben Olsen and assistant coach Chad Ashton] and the rest of the technical staff,” Onstad said. “I’d like to thank Dave [Kasper] and Kevin [Payne] for their trust in me. D.C. United is a great franchise with a wonderful history and I am excited to help get this team back to their winning ways.”

Onstad played his entire MLS career with the same organization, winning an MLS Cup with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2003 before the team relocated to Houston before the 2006 season. Success immediately followed with Onstad in net, and the Vancouver, B.C. native was essential to the Dynamo’s MLS Cup wins in 2006 and 2007.

Onstad was a two-time winner of the Goalkeeper of the Year, earning the award with the Earthquakes in 2003 and 2005.

“Pat has been an instrumental part of our club over the last five seasons,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti said in a statement. “We are very thankful for all he has done, on and off the field, to contribute to the Dynamo’s success. He will always be fondly respected and remembered by our fans and our organization. We wish him all the best in the future and congratulate him on an amazing playing career.”

Onstad stopped New England’s Jay Heaps on the final penalty kick of the shootout that decided the 2006 MLS Cup final, and denied an Ante Razov penalty shot during the 2003 MLS Cup, the first penalty kick save in league championship history.

“I can’t stand penalty kicks,” Onstad told ExtraTime Radio on Nov. 18. “The year we went to penalty kicks with New England, it was a fantastic way to win it. But even at the time, people said, ‘That must be the biggest save of your career,’ and I didn’t think of it that way.

“After I looked back, I guess it was, to stop a penalty to win the Cup.”

Onstad retires as the Dynamo club leader in games started (170), minutes (15,339), and every goalkeeping standard, including 50 shutouts, in all competitions.

“I want to thank Pat for all he’s done for the organization, the staff, and all the players, not just on our team but throughout the league,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said in a statement. “I know for a fact that if he shows the same dedication and determination that he did as a player all these years, he’s going to make a wonderful coach. I want to wish him luck, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank him for all he’s done for the team.”

Onstad also made 57 appearances for the Canadian national team from 1998-2010, posting 21 shutouts and helping Canada win the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Prior to joining MLS, Onstad won the 1998 A-League championship and the 1999 US Open Cup with the Rochester Raging Rhinos.

Ready to Launch: MLS Matchday 2010, The official MLS iPhone app. It's FREE! Download it here!