Atlanta United’s Bobby Boswell has announced his retirement at the age of 34. The veteran centre-back spent 13 seasons in the MLS, where he was a regular starter for D.C. United and Huston Dynamo.
There are few modern legends in Major League Soccer. Whilst the division has come on leaps and bounds over the course of the last decade, many soccer fans still view the MLS as a lesser league, or at worst, a retirement home for European players. Bobby Boswell may not be a familiar name in the UK; however, anyone keeping up with American soccer will know the decorated defender all too well.
Boswell began his playing career at college side FIU Golden Panthers. The centre-back was not included in the 2005 MLS draft, but after impressing in his pre-season matches, Boswell was picked up by D.C. United. The native Texan became a regular starter for United when their defender Bryan Namoff was forced to miss the beginning of the 2005/06 season through injury. Boswell produced a number of solid performances during his debut season, but three own goals granted the defender an unfortunate league record. 2006/07 however, was a completely different story, and come the end of the season, Boswell was named an in the MLS all-star team – a team that would go on to beat Premier League champions Chelsea 1-0. Boswell’s performance in the game put a cherry on top of a fantastic year, and he was named both D.C. United’s defender of the year, and the MLS defender of the year for 2006.
Boswell moved to Huston Dynamo in 2008, where he would go on to make 177 appearances, helping the club towards the Western Conference title, and being named MVP by Dynamo fans. After a failed attempt to move to a European club in 2011, Boswell signed a four-year contract with Huston Dynamo, which kept him in Texas until 2013.
After moving back to D.C. United in 2014, Boswell re-established himself in the team, making a further 108 appearances and becoming a role model for some of the club’s younger players. Finding regular playing time hard to come by, Boswell joined Atlanta United in August of last year, where he made just one appearance.
With 366 MLS appearances to his name, and 32,233 minutes on the clock (ranking sixth amongst all MLS players), Boswell decided to hang up his boots yesterday, announcing via twitter that he and his family are planning on moving back to Huston. Boswell may not have the same glittering YouTube highlight reel as some of his European contemporaries, but ends his career as one of the greatest defenders the MLS has ever seen.