[MLS SPOTLIGHT]Six days after his 27th birthday, Eddie Gaven retired. But he packed a lot into his 11-year MLS career. He was the youngest players, at 17, ever to be named to the MLS Best XI. He won MLS Cup with the Columbus Crew in 2008. And he was never red carded in 278 games. Gaven was part of the 2003 class headed by Freddy Adu, but he shined in MLS long after Adu's star had faded, being rated the top right midfielder by Soccer America in 2012.
Gaven played in a U-17 class in Bradenton with the likes of Michael Bradley, Michael Harrington, Jonathan Spector, Daniel Szetelaand Adu. He signed with the MetroStars at the age of 16 and needed his mother drive him to practice from their home in Trenton every day because he didn't have a driver's license.
Gaven was part of a new generation of young American players who skipped college to turn pro, but he took advantage of the Project-40 college stipend to get a bachelor’s degree in Business Management by age 20 taking online courses.
“I figured if they’re going to pay for it,” he told Soccer America's Mike Woitalla earlier this year. “I might as well use it. I started taking the courses right when I joined the league. I’m glad that I did it then, because I think trying to go back now would be very difficult, since I’ve been out of school for so long now.”
An ACL tear suffered on May 29 in the U.S. Open Cup ended Gaven's season, and he said he had been considering retirement for some time.
“For personal reasons, I will be retiring from professional soccer,” Gaven said in a statement. “I realize this may come as a surprise, but it is something I have been contemplating for some time, and after discussing it thoroughly with my family, I know in my heart that now is the right time to start the next chapter in my life.”
Gaven finished with 51 goals and 37 assists in MLS regular-season competition. He helped Columbus win the 2008 and 2009 Supporters’ Shields, along with the 2008 MLS Cup title against his former club.