KENYA BROWN - Tuesday, November 22, 2016
American defender AJ Soares has announced his retirement from soccer at the age of 27 after a head injury forced him to miss a portion of the Danish Superliga season.
The California native made the announcement last Thursday. He suffered the head injury just several games into his season with AGF Aarhus. After receiving medical advise from doctors while away from the team, he decided that his long-term health was more important and made the decision to call time on his career.
"Because of the head injury several specialists advised me to stop my career for my health in the long run. I want to thank AGF for the treatment I have received in the short time I've been at the club," said Soares in a statement on the Aarhus website. His Instagram page shows a photo of a pair of soccer cleats hanging from a power line.
After finishing his college soccer career at the University of California at Berkeley, Soares would be chosen sixth overall by the New England Revolution in the MLS SuperDraft in 2011. He went on to help the team reach the 2014 MLS Cup final which they lost to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
As his contract expired with the Revs, Soares was bound to sign with Verona in Italy until there was snag in the negotiations. This led him to signing with Viking in Norway's Tippeligaen.
After a season in Norway, the defender would sign a two-year deal with Aarhus.
The news of Soares retirement hit the Aarhus front office hard, but they understand that health is the most important thing for the player.
"It is in every way a sad case, above all for AJ, and we are all very concerned by the situation. But when it comes to your health, you should not compromise on anything or take the slightest chance. We all agree that it is the right decision that he stops, although it obviously hurts that it has happened in such an unfortunate background," Aarhus sporting director Jens Andersson.
"AJ has been a great acquaintance. He has some strong personal qualities, and I am sure that he will be successful with the new challenges he throws himself on. At AGF's behalf, I would like to thank him for the effort and wish him the best of luck."