With shaggy red hair and an Uncle Sam red goatee, Alexi Lalas was an icon on the U.S. men’s national team and in Italy and with Major League Soccer in the 1990’s and on this day in soccer history in 1999 he announced that he was hanging up his boots.
The rocker made the announcement following the Kansas City Wizards 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the season finale for the club.
"I have decided to leave the game and I am looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life off the field," Lalas said at the time. "I want to make it clear that my decision has absolutely nothing to do with wins, losses, trades or being in Kansas City. The people here have gone out of their way to express their support and to make me feel at home. Kansas City is a well-kept secret and it has been an honor and a privilege to have played and lived here.”
--- Major League Soccer continues to grow and make sure you show your support for your favorite MLS team by wearing an officially licensed MLS jersey. The World Soccer Shop has the best selection of official MLS gear. Check it out. ---
"This is simply a question of following my heart and thus makes it difficult to explain to people why or how I came to this decision. At 29, I definitely feel that I could continue to play for some time, but this is not about age or ability. It is a personal choice and something that I feel is right at this moment in my life."
The Rutgers product got his start with the U.S. men’s national team on March 12, 1991 in a 2-2 draw with Mexico. And over his seven years with the Red, White and Blue became a central figure on defense.
His performances got his a gig with Padova in Italy’s Serie A, where he was the first U.S. player in the modern generation to play in Italy’s top league in 1994.
He returned to help start Major League Soccer in 1996 playing for the New England Revolution, New York/New Jersey MetroStars, Kansas City Wizards.
Lalas reversed his decision and played for three additional seasons with the Los Angeles Galaxy from 2001 – 2003.
Since retiring for the second time, Lalas has continued to be involved with the game as an announcer as well as in front office management with MLS teams, most notably the Los Angeles Galaxy during the Beckham experiment.
1962 – Jorge Burruchaga, Argentinian footballer
1973 – Carlos Pavón, Honduran footballer
1975 – Mark Viduka, Australian footballer
1979 – Gonzalo Sorondo, Uruguayan footballer
1980 – Ibrahim Fazeel, Maldivian footballer
1982 – António Mendonça, Angolan footballer