SEATTLE, WA—(Sounders release) Former Sounders FC forward Herculez Gomez today announced his retirement from professional soccer, and is now set to join ESPN as a soccer analyst for its English and Spanish-language networks. The 2010 FIFA World Cup veteran spent the 2016 season with Sounders FC, helping the club to its first-ever MLS Cup championship. The 34-year-old moves on to broadcast work following a 15-year professional career throughout the United States and Mexico, in addition to his contributions to the U.S. Men’s National Team.
“I’m so grateful for the years that this game has given me, and I’d like to say thanks to every coach, teammate and fan that has helped me along the way,” said Gomez. “It’s never easy to close the book on your playing career, but I’m very excited to join ESPN and continue to grow the game of soccer throughout the U.S. and Mexico.”
Gomez’s new role sees him primarily serve as a pundit on ESPN FC, ESPN’s daily soccer news, highlights and information program, as well as a studio analyst for the network’s coverage of Major League Soccer, the U.S. Men’s National Team and other international soccer competitions. On ESPN Deportes, he is set to appear on signature soccer studio programs Fuera de Juego and Futbol Picante.
Gomez makes his ESPN FC debut today on ESPNEWS at 3:00 p.m. PT, joining host Dan Thomas and analysts Alejandro Moreno and Shaka Hislop at MLS Media Day in Los Angeles to discuss his career and retirement. On January 29, Gomez is set to work his first U.S. Men’s National Team match for ESPN, providing studio analysis from USA vs. Serbia (1:00 p.m. PT / ESPN2) in San Diego.
“Herc’s cultural role in our locker room during this past season was invaluable,” said Sounders FC General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “From the day he arrived, he made contributions on and off the field in Seattle, none bigger than his mentorship of our young players during the run to MLS Cup. Herc has played a role in our sport for a long time, and while we’ll miss seeing him on the field, we’re excited for his next step with ESPN. Like he was for Sounders FC, we know he’ll be a major asset for them across their many broadcast platforms.”
Gomez started 12 of 26 appearances across all competitions for Sounders FC during the 2016 season, helping the Rave Green to an improbable late-season turnaround en route to capturing the club’s first-ever MLS Cup. His signing in Seattle last March marked a return to the Emerald City after playing with the USL Sounders in 2003.
His MLS career began the LA Galaxy, where he made 53 appearances over three seasons, including a 2005 campaign in which he scored 11 goals in 22 games, as the Galaxy captured the MLS Cup and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. It was during his time with the Galaxy when he was loaned to the Seattle Sounders of the USL in 2003, where he appeared in 17 games, scoring once during his first tenure on Puget Sound.
“I’d like to thank Herculez not only for being a valuable member of our championship squad last season, but also for his contributions to this game over the past 15 years,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “I’ve known Herc a long time, and I have no doubt he will continue to be a valuable asset to the soccer landscape in this country going forward. On top of that, he’s a unique personality with a great perspective, so I’m excited to watch him on ESPN.”
He played three more seasons in MLS with the Colorado Rapids and Kansas City Wizards before signing with Mexican club Puebla in January of 2010, where he scored 10 goals and became the first American to lead a foreign league in scoring. He spent five years in Mexico – scoring 37 goals in 142 appearances – including a two-year stint with Santos Laguna, where he recorded eight strikes in 33 appearances in the 2012-2013 season. He returned to MLS in 2015 when he signed with Toronto FC, making eight appearances last season with one score.
The Las Vegas-native has 24 career appearances and six goals for the United States Men’s National Team. He was a member of the United States’ 2010 FIFA World Cup roster, where he played in three of the four matches in South Africa for the Stars and Stripes. Gomez most recently represented the USMNT at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
ABOUT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Winner of the 2016 MLS Cup, 2014 MLS Supporters’ Shield and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championships (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014), Sounders FC is Seattle’s Major League Soccer franchise. With an ownership group led by Seattle-based entrepreneur Adrian Hanauer, Hollywood executive Joe Roth, Seattle Seahawks Chairman Paul G. Allen and entertainer Drew Carey, the club received an MLS charter on November 13, 2007 and has qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in every year of its existence. In 2016, Sounders FC reached a milestone, as the franchise claimed its first MLS Cup championship with a road victory over Toronto FC. Since the club’s debut MLS season in 2009, Sounders FC has set the standard for soccer support in North America by leading the league in attendance each year, culminating in the top eight single-season attendance totals in league history and an active streak of 146 consecutive MLS sellouts. Prior to joining MLS, the Seattle Sounders organization has been a part of the greater Seattle community and U.S. Soccer professional scene since 1974.
ESPN, the world’s leading sports entertainment company, features more than 50 assets – eight U.S. television networks, ESPN International, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, and more. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) and 20 percent by The Hearst Corporation.
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