The Todd Dunivant era in MLS is drawing to a close.
Dunivant, who has been a staple for LA Galaxy championship teams for many years, announced today that he will retire at the end of the 2015 season. He has accomplished just about everything possible for an MLS defender. In addition to the four MLS Cup trophies that he has won with Los Angeles, he won one with the San Jose Earthquakes in his rookie season of 2003. He's also has garnered two Supporters' Shield trophies, and one US Open Cup, as well as garnering individual honors that include a league Best XI.
He served two stints with the Galaxy, becoming a fan favorite his first year with the club in 2005. He was recognized as a shut-down left back who was dangerous in the attack and added the long throw-in in the attacking third to the team's arsenal. He earned the nickname "Ironman" by playing in every minute of the regular season and playoffs, helping the team to win both the US Open Cup and MLS Cup that year.
After bouncing around the league for a few years, he came back to LA, with 2011 being, perhaps, the most successful season of his career. In that year, Dunivant anchored a very young Galaxy back line composed of himself, Omar Gonzalez (22), A.J. DeLaGarza (23), and Sean Franklin (26). That team proved to be one of the best defensive squads in the history of the league, giving up only 28 goals in 34 matches. The team lead the league virtually wire-to-wire and won both the Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup. Dunivant was deservedly named to the MLS best XI having played every minute of his 32 regular-season starts.
After being such a dependable contributor for so many years, it is the accumulation of injuries that have precipitated his retirement announcement. After missing most of the past two seasons, he told LAGalaxy.com that "at some point, you realize that you don’t want to be a professional rehabber or gym rat. If I’m not able to be out on the field and be able to compete every day to do the job that I love then it’s time to go. I’m at peace with that."
It's important to note that the durable defender has done more for MLS than simply perform on the field. Drawing on his Stanford education, he has played a key role in several collective bargaining agreements between the league and the players. The same calm demeanor and poise that has served him well on the pitch has proven to be an asset off the field too, as Dunivant has at times served as a spokesman for the players during these difficult negotiations.
These same skills should make him successful in whatever he chooses to pursue next. He hasn't announced what his next endeavor will be, but did say that he wants to "stay in the game," and that "to leave it wouldn't be true to who I am."
Are you listening Chris Klein?
If you're looking for more coverage of Dunivant's retirement and his career, be sure to check out the LA Galaxy website, which has a great series of articles and interviews.
We at LAG Confidential wish Todd and his family all the best. Let's hope the team can send him off with a sixth MLS Cup.