Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen (pink jersey) announced his retirement on December 9, 2013. (Photo: Jamila St. Ann)
KANSAS CITY, Kansas -- Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen announced his retirement on Monday, two days after leading the club to a Major League Soccer (MLS) title.
The 36-year-old played four seasons with the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinalist, earning MLS All-Star (2010, 2012), MLS Goalkeeper of the Year (2012) and MLS Best XI (2012) recognitions. Remarkably, he has played every minute of the team's last 100 MLS matches (including playoffs) dating back to 2011.
"I want to thank the ownership group, my teammates, my coaches and the entire organization for the opportunity to have four of the best years of my life, not only mine but my family as well here in Kansas City," Nielsen said. "I will remember these years forever. To the best soccer fans: since day one they have always been behind me and I want to thank them for all the support. I made the final decision to retire today and to end this part of my life and it was the perfect timing, finishing with a great championship that the entire city deserves.”
Nielsen, born in Denmark, began his professional career in 1994, playing alongside United States goalkeeper Kasey Keller at English side Millwall. After a year there, Nielsen signed with his hometown club Aalborg BK, where he made 342 appearances and won the 1999 Danish Superliga championship.
Nielsen made 63 appearances over two years for Denmark’s Vejle before signing with Sporting KC.
He did not feature in any of Sporting’s group stage games in this year’s Champions League, as Eric Kronberg started each of the four outings. The U.S. champion will meet Mexico’s Cruz Azul in the competition’s quarterfinals next year.