The professional soccer career of Edward “Eddie”/”EJ” Johnson is “likely over,” according to a report by the Washington Post‘s Steven Goff.
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An ongoing issue involving a serious heart condition has sidelined the 31-year-old D.C. United forward for the entirety of the 2015 preseason and regular season (last appeared for United on Nov. 8, 2014, Eastern Conference semifinals second leg), and according to Goff, the ailment will almost certainly claim the rest of his playing career.
D.C. United anticipating salary cap relief this year bec of Eddie Johnson health issues. Career likely over. Lawyers & union involved
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) April 9, 2015
In recent months, Johnson, who joined United as a Designated Player before the 2014 season ($613,333.33 guaranteed compensation, per MLSPU numbers), has seen a number of heart specialists from around the country, in attempt to further understand his condition and ascertain whether or not there is any way to continue playing, according to this March 17 story by Goff.
United head coach Ben Olsen, from the Washington Post:
“It’s a terrible situation for Eddie, but I’ve spoken with Eddie, and Eddie gets it. There is a potential life issue here that has to be focused on and making sure he is not putting himself in any danger to play this sport again. That is all that matters.
“It’s disappointing, but he has had a good career. I stopped when I was around his age. He played at a higher level than I did. He started pro when he was 16-17. That is a heck of a career. He should appreciate those years. I know he is thinking about the next stage in his life, if it comes to that.”
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.