A week ago, Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen talked about how hard it was to win championships. He talked about a much younger version of himself, winning a title 15 years ago and assuming that it was the first of many.
A few days later, Nielsen had the second league championship of his career; clearly, those things were far more elusive than he originally thought.
Monday, Nielsen decided two was enough – and that he certainly didn’t have 15 years to wait around for another.
Nielsen, still at the top of his game and widely considering one of Major League Soccer’s shot-stoppers, retired from soccer at age 36.
Nielsen, nicknamed the “White Puma,” did so about 48 hours after helping Sporting Kansas City win MLS Cup 2013. His play during 90 minutes, plus another 30 minutes of extra time, was hampered by miserable footing. Nielsen seemed to have more problems than his match-day counter part, Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
But Nielsen more than redeemed himself in the penalty kick tiebreaker, saving two of RSL’s 10 shots (with two more missed).
Nielsen, Major League Soccer’s Goalkeeper of the Year for 2012, signed with the club in 2010. What he said through a release issued by the club:
“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.”