Bobby Boswell, an undrafted central defender who went on to play 13 seasons, start in two MLS Cups and captain D.C. United, announced his retirement Monday. Boswell, who turns 35 next month, was a free agent this winter after spending the last portion of the 2017 season with Atlanta.
He played his first three seasons in Washington, then six with Houston during the Dynamo’s glory years and 3 1/2 more with D.C. before being dealt during last summer’s trade window.
On several social-media platforms, Boswell wrote: “It’s been a hell of a ride. From my family to yours, thanks for the support along the way. We have moved back to Houston & started the next chapter of our lives. I am retired from playing professional soccer.”
Among non-goalkeepers, the Tampa native is sixth in league history with 366 regular season appearances, fourth in starts (360) and fourth in minutes (32,222). He started at least 26 times in 11 of his 13 seasons, won the MLS defender of the year award in 2006, made the Best XI in 2006 and 2014, won two Supporters’ Shields in D.C. and played in the 2011 and 2012 finals for Houston against the Los Angeles Galaxy. He also earned three U.S. national team caps.
With an engaging personality and dry sense of humor, Boswell launched with his own website, bobbyboswell.com, before athletes really began embracing social media.
He could carry on long discussions about food, fishing, cars and pop culture. He’s also a great storyteller.
“When I was a kid, we had Tampa Bay Mutiny season tickets. I was too cool. I refused to sit with my parents. They sat at half-field. I would always sit in the top right corner. I was at their last game at the old Tampa Stadium, the Big Sombrero. I even have a shirt. I remember the Goo Goo Dolls played after and I met my first girlfriend there. I also tried crowd-surfing for the first time at a Goo Goo Dolls concert. That ended with me getting dropped – pretty hard. I must have been a sophomore in high school. I had Tampa Bay Rowdies tickets too [ASL/APSL]. The gap in between was the Tampa Bay Cyclones [A-League]. I’ve got a good story about that one. I won a Pepsi singing concert, my brother and I. We won a year’s supply of Pepsi. It was like a commercial, singing and dancing. ‘You’ve got the right one, baby.’ And he would go, ‘Uh-huh, uh-huh.’ We had this whole skit. This was probably with my mom being bored with all boys and making us do whatever she wanted. They brought you four cases [of Pepsi] a week. It’s impossible to drink four cases a week. Over four or five months, we had to call and say, ‘Please, we’re not kidding, stop bringing it.’ We had a section of our house that was just cases of Pepsi. We gave it away and we still had a case. It was just too much. When the Mutiny came, I remember going and watching Hristo Stoitchkov [with Chicago] hitting rockets off the post. They had Mamadou Diallo. Roy Lassiter. ‘El Pibe’ [Carlos Valderrama] was pulling the strings. He was a god; he still is. Ivan McKinley. Cle Kooiman — I thought he was the toughest dude I’d ever seen because he had a face mask.”
Happy trails, Bobby.