I could write a whole book on the great memories and friends I've made in Salt Lake and it still wouldn't be enough. —Chris Wingert
SANDY — Longtime Real Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert called it a career Monday, announcing his retirement on Twitter.
Wingert played 10 of his 14 Major League Soccer seasons with RSL. That included suiting up for Real from 2007-14, then again from 2016-17.
"After 14 years of Major League Soccer, it is time to move on," Wingert said in his announcement posted on Twitter. "Bittersweet, as you can imagine. On one hand, I am extremely sad to walk away from the game that has seemed to define me (at least at times) up until this point. I literally don't know a life without soccer.
"On the other hand, I am beyond excited for what's to come! Moving home, spending more time with my family and friends in NY, and helping the next generation of players with their careers."
The 35-year-old first joined RSL in 2007 via trade from the Colorado Rapids and played in Salt Lake through 2014. He was selected by New York City FC in the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft and played for FC for one season before RSL claimed him off waivers, and he played for Real the past two seasons.
"Thank you for everything, Chris! An absolute class act on & off the field. #RSLfamily," the RSL organization said via Twitter.
Wingert's MLS career started when he was selected by the Columbus Crew in the second round of the 2004 MLS SuperDraft. He played there for two seasons before being traded to the Rapids, where he was mainly a backup before being traded to RSL.
The Babylon, New York native started 300 games in his career, including 230 with RSL. He finishes his career with two goals and 16 assists in 339 total appearances. Wingert also played a key role in helping Real Salt Lake win the 2009 MLS Cup.
"I could write a whole book on the great memories and friends I've made in Salt Lake and it still wouldn't be enough," Wingert said on Twitter. "I don't believe another small market team will have a 5-year run like we did for a very long time, maybe ever. Utah is, and always will be, a second home for me. Thank you for that."
Former RSL midfielder Andy Williams, a one-time teammate of Wingert's and now head scout with the organization, shared his congratulations on social media.
"It was a pleasure sharing the field with you and I hope to share more memories off it as well. Welcome to retirement amigo, wishing you nothing but the best. #RSLfamily," Williams wrote on Twitter.