D.C. United forward Chris Rolfe announced his retirement from professional soccer Thursday, ending a 13-year international career.
A native of Kettering, Ohio, Rolfe has been a fixture in Major League Soccer for over a decade and played the majority of his career with the Chicago Fire before finishing his career with United. He also spent three seasons with Danish Superliga side, Aalborg Boldspilklub, and he earned 10 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team.
“Chris is a true competitor and professional; someone you could always count on both on and off the field,” said Dave Kasper, United General Manager and VP of soccer operations. "He was a dynamic attacker who enjoyed a long, successful career in MLS, and was a big factor for us for several seasons. We thank Chris for always being a model professional and a positive leader in the locker room and we wish him continued success in this next chapter of his life.”
The 34-year-old was drafted in the third round of the MLS SuperDraft in 2005 by the Chicago Fire. He flourished in his rookie season, scoring eight goals in 29 appearances on his way to earning the Fire’s Golden Boot award and being nominated as one of three finalists for the 2005 Gatorade Rookie of the Year Award. He went on to win Chicago’s Golden Boot award two more times (2008, 2012) and earned the Team MVP award in 2012. After eight seasons in Illinois, Rolfe is among the Fire’s all-time leaders in the following categories:
Goals — 48 (2nd)
Shots — 370 (2nd)
Shots on goal — 159 (2nd)
In January 2010, Rolfe joined Danish Superliga side Aalborg Boldspilklub, where he scored six goals, made 35 appearances and earned five SuperLiga Best XI weekly awards. He spent three seasons with the Danish team before returning to the Fire in April 2012.
Rolfe and the Fire played against United at RFK Stadium on March 29, 2014, where he came on as an 89th-minute substitute in the 2-2 draw. United traded for him four days later and he made his debut for the Black-and-Red the following weekend against the New England Revolution, on April 5, entering the match in the 63rd minute. He opened his scoring account for D.C. United minutes later, notching an insurance goal in stoppage time as United won 2-0.
“You never know how MLS trades are going to work out,” Rolfe said. “At the first training session, the guys welcomed me with open arms and at the first game two days later the fans embraced me. The entire time I was with the club, [they] treated me with great respect and provided an environment that allowed me to play to the best of my ability. I’m proud to be a part of the D.C. United family and I’m grateful for my time in Washington, D.C."
The 34-year-old played in 61 MLS regular-season matches for United, scoring 16 goals and recording 11 assists during his tenure in the nation’s capital. His best season for the Black-and-Red came in 2015 when he scored a career-high 10 goals on the way to earning United’s Golden Boot and Team MVP awards. Rolfe’s career season continued into the playoffs when he notched a thrilling game-winning goal against New England in the 83rd minute of the Knockout Round of the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Rolfe made 239 regular season appearances in Major League Soccer, scored 64 goals and recorded 33 assists over 11 seasons. He ranks fifth among active MLS players for goals scored and he is also one of only 91 players all-time to have scored at least 25 goals and record at least 25 assists since 1996. He is among the league’s all-time leaders in the following regular season categories:
Game-winning goals — 22 (T-13th)
Shots — 484 (22nd)
Goals — 64 goals (T-23rd)
Shots on goal — 204 (31st)
In the MLS Cup Playoffs, for which he qualified nine times in 11 seasons, he scored five goals, including three game-winners, in 20 playoff appearances. He is also among the all-time MLS leaders in the following post-season categories:
Game-winning goals — 3 (T-4th)
Goals — 5 (T-11th)
Games — 20 (T-21st)
Rolfe played collegiately at the University of Dayton (2001-2004). In his four seasons with the Dayton Flyers, Rolfe scored 31 goals and set the school record for assists (25). He was selected to the 2004 NSCAA/adidas Men’s NCAA Division I All-America team by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. The Dayton standout was inducted into the Ohio Soccer Hall of Fame in 2010 for his collegiate accomplishments.