MLS: Sorber retires to take coaching job at SLU

Chicago Fire midfielder and U.S. national team veteran Mike Sorber announced his retirement from professional soccer in order to join the coaching staff at his alma-mater Saint Louis University. "It's a difficult decision, but when you look at the future and the big picture you have to ask yourself 'What is there to do after soccer?'" said Sorber. "It came early for me, but it is a great opportunity for me. Now, I have an opportunity to help soccer and younger kids by taking my experiences and passing them along." Sorber, 29, joined the Fire on April 14, 2000 via trade with the New England Revolution after being claimed off waivers. The 1992 Hermann Trophy finalist appeared in 19 games for the Fire and registered five points on one goal and three assists. He helped the Fire to its second MLS Cup Final, and helped the team capture the 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Championship. "Mike has been a great asset to the organization," said Fire GM Peter Wilt. "He has sacrificed personally in order to contribute to the team's success. The Fire and MLS will miss Mike as a player and a person. We realize this is a great opportunity for him to grow into his next career." Upon his arrival to Chicago, Sorber made an immediate impact, while Chris Armas was off on national team duty. His lone goal with Chicago -- a game winner -- came in injury time in the final game of the regular season on Sept. 9, 2000 against the Columbus Crew. The 3-2 victory crowned the Fire as the 2000 Central Division Champions. "We appreciate everything Mike did for our team this year," said Fire Head Coach Bob Bradley. "We are excited for him in this new career choice. He is a good person and deserves this opportunity." The St. Louis native began his professional career with the U.S. national team in residency camp for World Cup USA '94, where he played all but 15 minutes for the historic side. After the tournament, then-U.S. Head Coach Bora Milutinovic said, "When you analyze the World Cup, Sorber was probably our MVP. He is disciplined and intelligent." World Cup USA '94 became a stepping stone for the young Sorber, as Mexican teams knocked down his door for his services. U.N.A.M. Pumas quickly swooped up the midfielder and the team went on a 15-game unbeaten streak upon his arrival. Sorber's time with Pumas prepared him for another historic run with the U.S. national team: the 1995 Copa America. He contributed to a semifinal berth for the up-and-coming Americans and the stage was set for grueling qualification for the U.S. en route to World Cup France '98. "Sorbs" helped the U.S. qualify for the World Cup, but was left out of the tournament squad. He played his final match with the national team on March 14, 1998, helping the Americans to a 2-2 draw against Paraguay in San Diego. Sorber amassed 67 caps for the U.S. and scored two goals in an international career that spanned from 1992 through 1998. Once Major League Soccer was set for the inaugural season in 1996, Sorber could not ignore the call of his homeland. He became the first Kansas City Wizard on Oct. 17, 1995. After a successful 1996 season with the Wizards, the MetroStars acquired him to be the link between its defense and midfield. His consistency and stability made the specialist a constant in the MetroStars lineup, where he was spotted for 74 games from 1997 to 1999. "The opportunity to play in a professional league in the United States and to help soccer get established were the main reasons I came to MLS," said Sorber. "I have been fortunate to play at the highest level."
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