Two-time MLS Cup champion and Houston Dynamo legend Ricardo Clark formally announced his retirement from professional soccer today. Joined by family, friends, past teammates, and new coworkers, Clark signed a one-day contract with the Dynamo to officially retire with the club he represented for nearly a decade.
Ranked second in club history with 304 games played, 286 games started, and 25,319 minutes played in all competitions for the Dynamo, plus representing the United States in 34 games, including the 2010 World Cup, the accolades are endless for Clark. His play on the field always spoke for itself, but it was his professionalism off the field that really resonated with his teammates and staff.
“We could go on and on about Ricardo and everything he has done in his career,” said Houston Dynamo Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Jordan. “What really stands out about Ricardo is who he is as a man and as a player. If you look at his qualities, he was a consummate professional every day, brought a winning mentality every day to the field, always looking to improve and better himself as a player, and his commitment to preparation.”
When asked what it meant to him to sign a one-day contract and retire as a member of the Houston Dynamo, a big smile spread across Clark’s face, looking directly at his family.
“To be honest, I did this today for my family, especially my kids and my dad,” the Dynamo legend Ricardo Clark explained. “They supported me the whole way. I wanted to put this on for them because this whole retirement impacted my kids more than it did me. Even though I left to play in different teams and in Europe, I never felt like I left. My son was playing for the (Dynamo) Academy and I still had my houses here… I honestly feel like I never left. This has been home for me for a while and it is right now.”
While his cleats might not be used in a professional match anymore, Clark will still be getting plenty of use out of them, as he was also officially announced as a new addition to the Dynamo Academy coaching staff to work with the pre-professional and foundation phases of the Academy. Looking back on his own career, Clark hopes to impart at least some of the lessons he learned throughout the years to his players.
“What I want to do from a coaching aspect is relate my experiences to the kids and share with them how I became a professional,” Clark explained. “Through my experiences, whether they were good or bad, how I learned from them and give them some sort of idea of what to expect when they get into the professional environment…within that, just kind of being a bar that is set and help them be better than that bar, be better than me, in every aspect.”
At the beginning of the news conference, a video featuring several of Clark’s most memorable goals was played. After one of the goals, Dynamo TV play-by-play man Glenn Davis exclaimed, “It’s Ricardo Clark! There is always Ricardo Clark.” Now that he has officially re-signed with the club and is joining the Dynamo Academy, one of the greatest and most consistent players to ever pull on an orange jersey will always be a part of the Dynamo.