Cory Gibbs'01, the most decorated international and professional player in Brown Soccer history, has retired from professional soccer in an announcement made today by the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. The club's 2011 Defender of the Year, Gibbs, a U.S. Men's National Team veteran, brings an end to a 12-year professional soccer career that saw him compete at the top levels in Europe prior to re-joining MLS in 2008.
"We want to thank Cory for everything he has done as a member of the Fire family," said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. "Cory's veteran leadership and the experience that he brought to our locker room was invaluable. We wish him nothing but the best on his future endeavors."
"It was a tough decision," said Gibbs. "After discussing it with the medical staff, my wife and family, it is the right time for me to step away from the playing field. I've done everything in my power to return to the game, however, my latest injury has made it too difficult to play again. It was an honor to represent the United States and the Fire, along with all of the clubs I played with throughout my career. A special thanks goes out to Fire owner Andrew Hauptman, and Javier Leon and Frank Klopas for bringing me to Chicago. I would also like to take this time to thank all of my teammates, coaches, especially Bruce Arena and Michael Noonan, the fans and my family, especially my wife, for all of their support along this journey. It is also important to include a very special thanks to my agent, Richard Motzkin, who has been with me through thick and thin from day-one of my professional career and always served me well. Now coming to terms with my decision to retire, I am truly excited to transition into a new venture in my career. Coaching, working with a club and scouting are my greatest desires. I will be as committed off the pitch as when I was playing."
A four-year standout at Brown University, Gibbs led the Bears to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, reaching the Elite Eight his senior season in which he was named the 2000 Ivy League Player of the Year and a First Team All-American. Gibbs was selected in the fourth round of the 2001 MLS SuperDraft by the Miami Fusion, but elected to go abroad and signed with FC St. Pauli of the German Bundesliga.
After three seasons with St. Pauli where he appeared in 60 matches and scored four goals, Gibbs returned to the United States where he was allocated to the then Dallas Burn. During the 2004 season, Gibbs started 21 games for the Burn, registering one assist over 1,850 minutes.
On Jan. 20, 2005 Gibbs transferred to Dutch club Feyenoord. While with the 14-time Eredivisie champions, Gibbs made 15 appearances and scored one goal. Due to injury, he was then loaned to ADO Den Haag Jan. 2006, where he appeared in five matches. In May 2006 Gibbs signed a pre-contract agreement with English Premier League club Charlton Athletic.
Gibbs earned his first international cap for the United States on June 8, 2003 against New Zealand, and went on to play a total of 19 games for the Yanks. Gibbs was named to the roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup but missed the tournament after suffering a knee injury in the tune-up match against Morocco May 23, 2006.
Gibbs returned to MLS in 2008 and was allocated to the Colorado Rapids. In two seasons with the Rapids, Gibbs appeared in 29 matches and was named the club's 2008 Defender of the Year.
Prior to the 2010 season, Gibbs was traded to the New England Revolution where he made 25 appearances and wore the captain's armband in eight matches.
The Fire selected Gibbs in Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft on Dec. 15, 2010. In 2011 Gibbs made 26 appearances for the Men in Red, scoring three goals and tallying one assist over 2,203 minutes. Gibbs demonstrated his aerial strength when he headed home a Marco Pappa free kick against Manchester United to give the Fire a 1-0 lead July 23.
Gibbs started the first three matches of the 2012 season at center back before suffering a right meniscus injury in training April 4. He underwent surgery April 10 and was sidelined for the remainder of the season.
In his two seasons with the Fire, Gibbs served as a mentor for young defenders Jalil Anibaba, who led the Fire with 32 starts this season, and Austin Berry, who was recently named the 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year.