Colorado Rapids forward Kevin Doyle says he is retiring because of repeated concussions.
Doyle is from Ireland and has played 16 years in Europe and in Major League Soccer. He released a statement via social media Thursday.
“This year it has been clear to me that heading the ball was becoming problematic and causing me to have repeated headaches,” Doyle wrote (FULL STATEMENT HERE). “Two concussions this season and numerous other over the years have made this more concerning.”
Doyle said after consulting with doctors he decided to retire rather than risk permanent damage.
The 34-year-old has 16 goals and eight assists in 71 matches with the Rapids since joining the team in 2015. Before that he played 10 years in Europe, including stints with the Wolverhampton Wanderers, Queens Park Rangers and Crystal Palace.
He was also a regular with the Irish national team, making 63 appearances and scoring 14 goals.
“I’m privileged and proud to have fulfilled my childhood dream of playing for my country,” Doyle wrote. “Everything else was a bonus.”
Doyle’s latest concussion came on Sept. 2 against LA Galaxy and he hasn’t played since. He had five goals and four assists in 25 matches this season.
“Kevin is both a terrific player and a terrific person,” said Rapids Interim General Manager Padraig Smith said in a statement. “His contributions on the field have been invaluable, and off-the-field he has been a wonderful influence on the locker room as well as the community as a whole. His efforts will be sorely missed.”
Former MLS standout and current broadcaster Taylor Twellman, who was forced to retire from soccer because of concussions, posted a message to Doyle on Twitter.
The Rapids have struggled this season and were eliminated from playoff contention Wednesday night with a 2-0 loss at Dallas.