After a 14-year professional career in Major League Soccer, Germany, and with the U.S. Men’s National Team, veteran forward Josh Wolff announced his retirement today. The 35-year-old was named a player/coach prior to the start of the 2012 season, but will now join the technical staff full-time as an assistant coach.
“It’s been a fun ride and I have had a lot of great experiences over the years in the League, abroad, and with the national team,” said Wolff. “I’d like to thank everyone for the memories, advice, and direction over the years. Though I’m excited to take the next step in my career and to be joining such a great technical staff, I’m most excited to build upon what we did this past season as a group.”
After playing in nine games to start the season, Wolff’s 2012 campaign was cut short in September following surgery to repair a lower back disc herniation. Last season, Wolff started 23 of the 30 games in which he appeared for D.C. United and logged close to 2,000 minutes, netting five goals and assisting on seven more.
“I was lucky enough to play alongside Josh since we were teenagers and we were able to share some incredible experiences, playing in the Olympics and a World Cup as teammates,” said D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen. “He had a wonderful career both for the national team and in MLS and I consider him one of my oldest friends. I am extremely excited that he’s joining our staff full-time. He brings a fresh perspective that will continue to help both this club and me.”
Josh Wolff’s professional career began in 1998, when he was allocated to the Chicago Fire. He went on to score a rookie-record eight goals in 14 games (all starts) and helped the Fire to MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup titles in the team’s inaugural season. He played for Chicago until the 2002 season – winning another U.S. Open Cup title in 2000 – before joining the Kansas City Wizards in 2003. Over four seasons there, Wolff collected 27 goals and 20 assists and helped the Wizards capture the 2004 U.S. Open Cup. He departed MLS in 2006 and joined 1860 Munich, making 34 appearances and scoring twice for the German Bundesliga second-division side. In 2008, he returned to MLS and Kansas City, joining the Wizards for three seasons (2008-2010), before being selected by D.C. United in the MLS Re-Entry Draft after the 2010 campaign. Over two full seasons in D.C., Wolff played in 39 games (24 starts), providing five goals and eight assists for the Black-and-Red.
Over his entire MLS career, Wolff played in 267 regular season games (210 starts), amassing an impressive 80 goals and 49 assists in close to 20,000 minutes played.
Internationally, Wolff made 52 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team, scoring nine goals and adding five assists. Wolff recorded his first international goal on October 25, 2000 in a 2-0 triumph against Mexico. He also scored the game-winner against Mexico in February of 2001 that helped send the U.S. to the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The forward made the U.S. roster for two FIFA World Cups, the first in 2002 in Korea and Japan and the second in 2006 in Germany, alongside current United Head Coach Ben Olsen. At the 2002 World Cup, Wolff made two appearances for his country, assisting on the Brian McBride goal that propelled the U.S. into the quarterfinal stage at the expense of Mexico. He also notched the match-winning strike at the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final in a 2-0 win over Costa Rica. He played in every minute of the United States’ six matches at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
Prior to his professional career, Wolff played for the University of South Carolina (1995-97), where he tallied 21 goals and eight assists in 43 games.