Veteran Chicago Fire defender C.J. Brown announced will end his playing career after Saturday's game against Chivas USA. Brown said the team's disappointing 8-12-9 record had nothing to do with his decision.
''This wasn't the greatest year, but it's time to hang it up,'' said Brown, the Fire's all-time leader in MLS games played and started. ''Last year, the club gave me the chance to come back after a season where I didn't feel I played as well as I could because of injuries. I wanted to try one more year, see if I could impress a new coach and get on the field again. Though the season wasn't good, I did that.''
Brown, 35, was the last member of the first Fire team, which swept to MLS and U.S. Open cups in 1998. He also was a key player on three more U.S. Open Cup winners and was the team captain in 2008 and 2009. ''This club's been great to me,'' Brown said. ''We've only missed the playoffs two times. I got to play with some great players and against some great players. There's been many more positives than negatives. It's been a great relationship.''
Brown has worked with the Fire Juniors the last several years and plans to pursue a coaching career.