Mike Magee announced today that he would retire after a 14-year career in Major League Soccer. During that run Magee earned 316 appearances, scoring 70 goals, tallying 38 assists and two MLS Cups (Both with the LA Galaxy in 2011, 2012). He was also named the league MVP in 2013 when playing for the Chicago Fire — the year he was traded for the rights to Robbie Rogers.
Magee played with three clubs during his long MLS career. He Started with the New York Red Bulls (Metro Stars) in 2003 and moved over to the LA Galaxy in 2009 during Bruce Arena’s first full season with the club. And as mentioned above, he was then traded to the Chicago fire in 2013, quickly had an MVP season, and made it back to the LA Galaxy, as one of their very first Free Agent signings prior to the 2016 season.
“It has been an honor to represent the New York Red Bulls, Chicago Fire and the LA Galaxy and to be a part of a league that continues to grow so rapidly in this country. I am extremely thankful to everyone that has supported, inspired and guided me on and off the field throughout my time as a professional. I look forward to the next step in this journey as I spend time with my family and friends,” said Magee.
Chris Klein, LA Galaxy President, added that “Mike has been an incredible member and representative of the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer as a whole.” Klein continued “As a teammate and friend, I thank Mike for everything he has done for the city of Los Angeles and the sport of soccer in this country throughout his career. He will be greatly missed on the field and we wish him the best in the next stage of his career. He will always be a member of this club.”
With the LA Galaxy, Mike Magee became Mr. October and probably some Mr. November as well. He was known for his ability to score game-changing goals and his ever present work rate. He scored eight post-season goals for the LA Galaxy and of course had a famous game in 2011 where he played in goal for 48 minutes and kept the Earthquakes off the board. He became a Galaxy legend because of the game and even had a twitter hashtag take flight because of it (#MikeMageeFacts).
Magee was a free Agent at the end of 2016 and was probably considered for a return to the club before announcing his retirement.
A leader in the locker room and on the field, Mike Magee will be one of those special players that people remember having watched. He was loved by the fans and media alike — always kind to both — and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. And while his language on the field will always be something his opponents will remember, you simply can’t find a guy who has a bigger heart for the game than Mike Magee.
THAT ONE GAME VS SAN JOSE AND #MIKEMAGEEFACTS
On a personal note, I was fortunate enough to be attending the San Jose vs LA Galaxy game in 2011. I traveled up as a fan and with a good friend of mine. We got to the stadium early and met up with the other supporters’ groups to sit in that tiny college stadium the Earthquakes used to play in.
It was an ugly game, with the LA Galaxy fortunate to not give up any early goals. Donovan Ricketts breaks his arm on a late challenge and Josh Saunders was baited into a reactionary elbow by Steve Lenhart — one of the best villains MLS ever had. And when Mike Magee put on the ‘keepers kit, there wasn’t a single Galaxy fan who didn’t expect an easy SJ win.
But that wasn’t in the cards. Mike Magee made multiple saves from point blank range and Gregg Berhalter absolutely annoyed Lenhart for the remainder of the game. If you ever want to see a professional defender give a master class in hacking at an attacker’s ankles relentlessly for 48 minutes, then watch that game.
Following that game, sitting at the airport, one young soccer podcaster tweeted out a stupid hashtag to commemorate what he had seen in the game prior to his flight. And #MikeMageeFacts was born. With a pretty horrible tweet, too be honest.
But Magee was sublime. And he had to answer questions about it every year. Every time the Galaxy played San Jose we would ask Mike about it. And he’d once again tell us that it wasn’t the smartest decision he ever made and that he really didn’t think about it.
It’s a small glimpse into what has made Mike so entertaining to watch and cover. He doesn’t always think things through, but he always had his team in mind. He was aggressive and smart, and clutch, and that’s what most fans will remember about him. He was always in the right place at the right time when the club needed him. An easy Galaxy Legend, and one who is simply irreplaceable.
THE LIST IS GROWING
The LA Galaxy have now said goodbye to a long list of coaches and players at the conclusion of the 2016 season. Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard, Landon Donovan, Leonardo, Jeff Larentowicz, Bruce Arena, Dave Sarachan, Pat Noonan, Kenny Arena, and Matt Reis are all gone.
Head Coach Curt Onalfo and General Manager Peter Vagenas will now have to fill those gaps amid a large number of returning players. And while the Front Office is in re-building mode, the roster is close to complete. But with two Designated Player spots open, it seems like this team will have a long way to go to get field-ready for March 4th and their season opener with FC Dallas.