What’s with the In-Season Retirement Announcements?

We’re a little late to this but wanted to make note: First it was Red Bull defensive warhorse Mike Petke, then U.S. soccer icon Brian McBride, and on Tuesday, longtime New York holding midfielder Seth Stammler announced that he, too, would hang up his boots after the season. (Beloved MetroBull striker Johnny Wolyniec announced his retirement, also, but he’d already been waived by New York.)

Obvioulsy, it’s the player’s call, but we wonder: Doesn’t this take a little steam out of the season, especially when all three players are (or potentially are, in Petke’s case) key parts of their teams’ playoff pushes?

Isn’t it a potential distraction/motivation dampener?

Seems to us that after the season is a more optimal time for these announcements, but in any case, yeah, those three stalwarts will be calling it a career come late October.

• Petke, who played college ball at Southern Connecticut State, did two tours with MLS’s New York franchise, and is the club’s alltime leader in minutes played, as well as a member of its alltime Best XI. He also suited up for DC United (with whom he won an MLS Cup in 2004) and Colorado in his 13-year career. He earned two caps for the U.S. national team.

• University of Maryland grad Stammler, who will turn 29 at the end of September, decided to retire to attend graduate school at the University of Chicago. He joined New York in 2004, and is second on the club’s alltime list for games started. He has scored seven goals in his career, most of which has been spent as a tenacious holding midfielder. He earned four caps with the U.S. U-23 team in 2003 and ’04.

• McBride was the No. 1 overall pick of the MLS Inaugural Draft back in 1996, going to Columbus. He starred at St. Louis University before joining the A-League’s Milwaukee Rampage (for whom he scored 17 goals in 18 appearances), and then doing a stint in Germany with Wolfsburg.

He was an immediate success in Columbus, and finished his eight-year career there with 62 goals and 45 assists in 161 games.

In 2000, he launched a career in Europe, first with Preston North End, then Everton and Fulham, where he became captain and a legend among Cottagers fans, scoring 40 goals in 153 appearances, and being named Player of the Year in both 2005 and ’06.

In 2009, Fulham announced that the sports bar at Craven Cottage would be renamed “McBride’s.”

His career with the U.S. national team is the stuff of legend as well. He hit the net 30 times in 96 appearances, including two huge World Cup goals against Portugal and Mexico in 2002. He was the first U.S. player ever to score in two World Cups (1998 and 2002). Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan have since joined him in this exclusive club, but the U.S. has yet to find a target forward with qualities comparable to those of McBride, who retired from international play after the 2006 World Cup.

He was also a tough hombre, as the following highlight reels illustrate:

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Red Bulls Release John Wolyniec

With the signing of Thierry Henry and the return to health (and form) of Macoumba Kandji, someone had to go in the Red Bulls’ forward ranks.

Sadly for longtime followers of the club, that someone turned out to be 33-year-old John Wolyniec, one of the more beloved, blue-collar players in MetroBull history. The club waived him yesterday.

“John is a true professional and a hard working player,” said General Manager Erik Soler. “We spoke to John about staying on with the club in another capacity but he expressed an interest in continuing on with his playing career. We wish him the best of luck in the future.”

Wolyniec played two spells with the MetroStars/Red Bulls (2003-2005, and 2006-2010), scoring 22 goals in 128 appearances.

The best of those goals, and one New York fans will never forget, was his MLS Goal of the Decade against Columbus back in 2003. Enjoy: