Sporting Kansas City defender Brad Evans announced on Monday his retirement from professional soccer after a decorated 12-year career in MLS.
Evans leaves the league as a two-time MLS Cup champion, a four-time Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champion and a two-time Supporters’ Shield winner, having represented Columbus Crew SC (2007-08), Seattle Sounders FC (2009-17) and Sporting KC (2018) in addition to earning 27 caps for the United States Men’s National Team.
“The last 12 years have been an absolute privilege, and there are so many teammates, players, coaches and fans who I am excited to thank,” Evans said. “I’m extremely proud to have represented Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City and the United States and appreciate every opportunity I have been given. Although my playing career has ended, I look forward to keeping the special relationships I’ve made throughout my time in Major League Soccer.”
Including playoffs, Evans recorded 28 goals and 31 assists in 255 career MLS appearances as a defender and midfielder. His eight major trophies as an MLS player are tied for the fifth-most in league history.
“Brad was an excellent professional during his time with us and throughout his career,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. “He was a great player and teammate who strengthened the culture of every club he played for, and we have tremendous respect for everything he has accomplished. We are sad to see him retire, but Brad can be extremely proud of the impact he has made on and off the field at every stage of his career.”
A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Evans began his storied professional career with Columbus Crew SC as the No. 15 overall pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. The UC Irvine product enjoyed a breakout sophomore season in Ohio, scoring a career-high six goals in 31 matches (including playoffs) as Columbus cruised to the MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield double in their most successful season to date.
Seattle acquired Evans in the 2009 MLS Expansion Draft, marking the start of his trophy-laden stint in the Pacific Northwest. Evans helped the Sounders reach the MLS Cup Playoffs in each of his eight seasons with the club and won three consecutive U.S. Open Cup titles from 2009-2011, during which time he played primarily as a midfielder.
Evans notched at least four goals and four assists each season from 2011-2013 before helping Seattle reach new heights as club captain in 2014, when the Sounders won another U.S. Open Cup and captured their first Supporters’ Shield title with a club-record 20 regular-season wins.
Transitioning primarily to a defender from 2015 onward, Evans helped Seattle reach the MLS pinnacle in 2016. He made 28 league appearances, including five in the playoffs, as the Sounders hoisted the MLS Cup with a penalty shootout triumph over Toronto FC. Evans converted his spot kick in the shootout after a 0-0 draw to claim his second MLS Cup and his eighth trophy as a professional.
Evans ended his fruitful stay in Seattle with 221 MLS appearances, including 16 in the postseason. In addition to featuring in six editions of the MLS Cup Playoffs with the club, he competed in three separate editions of the Concacaf Champions League, the premier international club tournament in North America.
Evans joined Sporting KC in February for his final MLS campaign, providing valuable leadership for a team that ended 2018 with 18 regular-season wins and 62 points, both the second-most in club history. Sporting KC finished atop the Western Conference regular season standings and advanced to the conference championship for the first time since 2013.
On the international stage, Evans first represented the United States U-20s at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship under head coach Sigi Schmid, who also coached him in Columbus and Seattle. Evans made his senior international debut in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup and competed in nine friendlies over the next four years.
Evans started five matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign, all wins, and scored his lone U.S. goal in second-half stoppage time of a dramatic 2-1 qualifying victory against Jamaica in June 2013. His contributions helped the Americans punch a ticket to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and led to a busy year in 2015, when he competed at his second Concacaf Gold Cup and played in the historic Concacaf Cup against Mexico at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Evans last appeared for the U.S. MNT in February 2017.
Evans had a prolific four-year career at UC Irvine from 2003-2006, where he scored a school-record 31 goals in 75 games. He was named the Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006, landing All-American honors as a senior.
Away from the soccer field, Evans championed numerous philanthropic causes as an active humanitarian in Seattle and Kansas City. While with Sounders FC, he participated in the Men in Kilts campaign, helped raise money for the Ronald McDonald House and served families of children being treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He also worked with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Seattle Humane Society and assisted in the club’s United in Green efforts to positively impact local children.
Throughout 2018, Evans was regularly involved in The Victory Project, an initiative that unites Sporting KC players, staff and fans to help children fighting cancer and other serious challenges. He helped lead multiple fundraisers for the program—including the SKC Invitational golf event and Celebrity Bartending at No Other Pub—while participating in the Victory Project Blood Drive and TeamSmile, a dental outreach initiative for underserved children in Kansas City. He also presented a new, in-home gaming room to 15-year-old Jordan Rodriguez, a local teen battling cancer.
REMARKS ON BRAD EVANS’ MLS CAREER
Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer
“Brad Evans is one of the great Sounders from any era of our club’s history. From being selected in the Expansion Draft, to starting our first-ever match in MLS and helping our club to multiple titles over nine seasons, Brad has left an indelible mark on the Seattle soccer community. We would like to join with the rest of the soccer world today in wishing him congratulations on an exemplary career, one that made a major difference to our club and all Sounders fans.”
Sounders FC Sporting Director & Vice President of Soccer Chris Henderson
“I’d like to congratulate Brad on a terrific career and thank him for everything he did for the Sounders organization. He was a great pro and spokesman for the club, and his personality gave him a unique ability to connect with our fans. On top of that, he always delivered on the pitch and was an extremely unselfish player, as shown in how many positions he played at a high level for us throughout the years. I’m excited to see what Brad has planned for the next chapter of his life.”
Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer
“There are players that come around every once in a while that develop a really special connection with supporters, and Brad was that guy for us during his time in Seattle. Whether it was his unselfish playing style, his workmanlike attitude every day in training or his tireless work in the community, Brad was always a first-class representative of the Seattle Sounders. I’d like to join our organization in congratulating him on a successful career.”
Sporting KC Defender Graham Zusi
“Brad is a guy who any team would love to have on the field and in the locker room. His resume and trophy case speaks for itself, but his attitude and ability to bring a group together make him an incredible teammate. I feel lucky to have shared the field with him, even if only for a short period of time.”
Sounders FC Defender Chad Marshall
“It’s been an absolute honor to call Brad Evans a teammate and friend over the last 12 years. He is a consummate professional and captain in every sense of the word. Every locker room and lineup was better with Brad in it. Congratulations on a fantastic career and best of luck in your next chapter.”
Sounders FC Goalkeeper Stefan Frei
“Brad always had such a veteran presence in the locker room. His blunt, sarcastic sense of humor kept people on their toes, like a rookie who just signed his professional contract – good times. But people listened when he had something to say and everyone valued his opinion. I wish you all the best in your next adventure, B-Rad.”
Sounders FC Broadcast Analyst & Former Goalkeeper Kasey Keller
“Brad and I played together early in his career in Seattle, where he was always a good pro and reliable teammate. He’s a versatile, unselfish player who always knew where to be, and he was a big part of our early success in MLS and three U.S. Open Cup titles, in addition to being an important piece for the national team in 2014 World Cup qualification. It’s a shame that he suffered some injuries that didn’t allow his playing days to continue, but that takes nothing away from the excellent career that he had.”