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Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen announces his retirement

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Nielsen, 36, closes out his career a champion, and one of the best goalkeepers in MLS history.

Ed Zurga

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen has announced his retirement from professional soccer Monday, just two days after lifting the MLS Cup trophy in front of 21,650 at Sporting Park.

"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 to Sporting KC. "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.

"Finally, I would like to thank my wife and two daughters. I know it is not easy to be a soccer family, but they are always so supportive. Now is the right time to start a new chapter in our lives. I have spent 30 years of my life in soccer and I am definitely going to work the next 30 years in soccer as well in some capacity. I will miss you all, but hopefully will see you soon."

Nielsen's career spanned 19 years in both the United States and Denmark, winning championships in both countries.

Apart of Sporting Kansas City, Nielsen, 36, earned MLS All-Star (2010, 2012), MLS Goalkeeper of the Year (2012) and MLS Best XI (2012) recognitions. Along with this year's championship, Nielsen captured the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy in a thrilling shootout against the Seattle Sounders in the same year the veteran became captain of the squad.

"What an incredible way to end a career. Jimmy Nielsen is so important to this organization on and off the field and we look forward to the next phase of our relationship," Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman said. "We thank him for all he has done for the organization, the city and the fans."

"It's with a heavy heart that I see Jimmy retiring from not only the game, but more importantly our team," Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes said. "He has been instrumental to the success of this organization over the last four years. And as much as I'm sad to see him go, I am delighted that he leaves the game as a champion based on the fact that he is true winner."

Nielsen closes out his career for Sporting Kansas City atop the all-time club regular season goalkeeping records for games played (128), games started (128), minutes played (11,497), wins (57), ties (32), winning percentage (.575) and shutouts (45).

He also is first all-time in MLS history among goalkeepers with a minimum of 1,000 regular season minutes played for career goals against average and career goals against average on the road at 0.99 and 1.03, respectively.

We here at The Daily Wiz would like to congratulate Jimmy on a wonderful career. As the Cauldron has so often chanted, "There's only one Jimmy Nielsen."