Nielsen retires two days after winning MLS Cup

[MLS SPOTLIGHT] On Saturday, Danish keeper Jimmy Nielsen helped Sporting Kansas City win MLS Cup and as captain painted the wall at Sporting Park with the 2013 title, the club's second. On Monday, he announced his retirement after a 19-year pro soccer. Nielsen, 36, had played every minute in the team's last 100 MLS matches, including the last three games of the 2013 playoffs with a broken rib.

"I want to thank the ownership group, my teammates, my coaches and the entire organization for the opportunity to have four of the best years of my life, not only mine but my family as well here in Kansas City," Nielsen said in a statement. "I will remember these years forever. To the best soccer fans: since day one they have always been behind me and I want to thank them for all the support. I made the final decision to retire today and to end this part of my life and it was the perfect timing, finishing with a great championship that the entire city deserves."

Nicknamed the White Puma by the Sporting KC fans, Nielsen spent his four seasons in MLS with Sporting KC and earned MLS All-Star (2010, 2012), MLS Goalkeeper of the Year (2012) and MLS Best XI (2012) recognitions.

He came to MLS after making a record 398 starts for Aalborg in Denmark. He was known in Denmark as "Casino Jimmy" for his gambling problems, which he wrote about in his memoir, Welcome to the Blue Heaven: Don't Bet Against the Goalkeeper.

Nielsen said he has spent 30 years in soccer and hoped to work another 30 years in soccer in some capacity.
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