Last update we heard on D.C. United and U.S. national team forward Eddie Johnson came the sad news that the 31-year-old would likely be forced to retire due to a serious heart condition.
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On Thursday came further word from the Washington Post‘s Steven Goff that Johnson’s Designate Player contract, which was due to pay him more than $600,000 (last year’s total) in 2015, has been voided by Major League Soccer, presumably because they believe the heart condition to have existed before signing his current deal with United prior to the 2014 season, as well as signing with the Seattle Sounders before the 2012 season.
Because Johnson’s contract has been voided, United will be given significant salary cap relief, likely equalling the $436,250 charge for a Designated Player in 2015, which can be used to make additions to the roster in either the current transfer window (closes May 12), or the secondary window (opens July 8).
According to Goff’s report, Johnson’s condition is what’s known as “athlete’s heart syndrome,” which essentially means he has an enlarged heart that rests at a lower rate than normal. Athlete’s heart syndrome has also been known to mask or hide much more serious heart conditions among athletes.
If this is indeed the end of Johnson’s career, he leaves the game after 14 years, playing for eight clubs in four countries, scoring 90 goals for his various clubs, and another 19 goals in 63 appearances for the U.S. national team.