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:

Haiti Earthquake Relief

The New York Red Bulls made a philanthropic visit to Haiti—homeland of former Red Bull star Jozy Altidore’s parents—in late 2006 and NYRB midfielder Seth Stammler came away so struck by the adverse conditions in the country and the spirit of its people that he started a charitable foundation focused on providing clean, drinkable water and improving the standard of living in the nation. It’s called the Sporting Chance Foundation, and you can read more about it here

You’ve certainly heard about the disastrous earthquake that struck Haiti last night, wreaking devastation on a country that was not well off to begin with. Here are just a few places where you can contribute to the relief effort:

American Red Cross —They have full-time staff on the ground in Haiti.

UNICEF—Their offices in Port au Prince were nearly destroyed, but they’re still involved in the relief effort.

Yele Haiti—The site—started by Wyclef Jean—appeared to be having problems when we checked, but you can text YELE to 501501 to donate.

Direct Relief International—They’ve already sent half a million dollars worth of food, medicine and supplies.