After five-and-a-half professional seasons, A.J. Soares has decided to hang up his cleats.
The stalwart defender made six appearances for Danish-side AGF Aarhus this season before a head injury sidelined him for more than a month. During his time away from the club, Soares sought the advice of medical experts, who warned him of the long-term health risks of a return to action. He ultimately listened, announcing his retirement from the beautiful game on Wednesday.
A University of California graduate, Soares joined the Revolution in 2011 as the club’s first-round SuperDraft pick (6th overall). He contributed immediately, starting 28 matches while earning recognition as the “2011 Revolution Best Defender” by the club’s media.
In 2014, Soares made 32 starts and scored two goals during the Revs’ run to the MLS Cup Final, logging his final start in a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy. Once again, he earned “Revolution Best Defender” honors; the club also recognized him as its “Player’s Player.”
Following the season, Soares signed with Norwegian Tippeligaen club Viking FK. He made 32 appearances for the team before heading to Denmark on a two-year deal with AGF Aarhus.
Now 27 years old and retired from professional soccer, Soares will be remembered for blending tough, physical defending with a strong tactical awareness of the game.
Soares left this message for his fans on Instagram:
The Bent Musket wishes A.J. a healthy future and a productive life away from the beautiful game.