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Tony McManus Retires from Professional Soccer

2011 June 23
by Brian Quarstad

Tony McManus - Photo courtesy of Dropping

Tony McManus has told IMS that he is retiring from professional soccer. In an interview where he spoke about an incident last month where he was abruptly terminated from his contract by FC Tampa Bay, the 8-year veteran revealed the news.

“I am fully retired from soccer and have no interest in returning. I wish it was a decision I would have made prior to this, but that is hindsight. I am back in Portland trying to figure out what my next step is. I am pursuing work outside of soccer so if you have any kind of contacts in this area I am all ears,” said McManus.

“I’ve played at quite a few clubs in my professional career and whether the situation be good or bad, as a player you have to be thankful that you are getting paid to do what you love.”

McManus started his career with the MLS Chicago Fire but was quickly loaned to the Virginia Beach Mariners where he made 24 appearances with 1 goal.

He then moved on to play for the Atlanta Silverbacks  from 2005–2008. He made 156 appearances there and scored 7 goals with 3 assists as his reputation as a tough-nosed midfielder spread through the league. He helped the Silverbacks make it to the USL-1 Championship Final in 2007.

“While Tony was with the Atlanta Silverbacks he was an integral part of a team that saw us reach the 2007 USL First Division Finals,” said Michael Oki, President of the Atlanta Silverbacks.  “We always knew that Tony would give it his all on the field as a player and he created a strong central midfield presence for the team. It was a pleasure to have Tony on our team and we will always consider him a part of the Silverbacks family.”

McManus  moved to Portland and played for the Timbers from 2009 to 2010 where he made 51 appearances. That included the 24-game unbeaten streak of Portland’s in 2009 when they won the USL-1 Commissioner’s Cup.

“Tony is an outstanding soccer player that has the heart, and lungs, of a lion,” said Amos Magee, assistant coach of the MLS Portland Timbers. “Gavin Wilkinson and I both had the misfortune of coaching against him and decided that as we remade the Timbers in 2009 that he would be a major component of our team. His constant presence in the Timbers midfield made us a very difficult team to beat. Beyond the field, Tony is an even better person who has the utmost respect of his teammates and coaches. Tony’s character is further evident in his commitment to the Timbers Community Fund and various other charities that surpasses that of most professional athletes.”

“If Tony wants to stay involved in professional soccer, he will have no problem finding a role as his reputation and commitment to community extends well beyond Portland or Tampa.”

As to his stint in Tampa, Tony wants the players and fans to know he valued them.  “I loved the guys I played with and the people I met, but unfortunately it just wasn’t the right place for me and so I leave there with no ill feelings or bitterness at anyone.”

FC Tampa Bay coach Ricky Hill said, “For me Tony’s a first class person and a first class professional and I wish him the very best in his career.”

McManus in a game against Manchester City.

“I want to thank my family members, fans, teammates, coaches and clubs who have supported me in my career, said McManus in an email on Wednesday. “I never thought for a second that the journey from my youth to now would have been as exciting and fulfilling as it has been. I have had a lot of ups and downs throughout my career, but there was an amazing amount of support from everyone and that is what allowed me the confidence and courage to go out everyday and work as hard as I did. That hard work is what allowed me to be successful at every level I have played at and with every team I have played with.

“I have had some of the greatest experiences on and off the field, and you all had everything to do with that and I am so grateful and thankful to everyone and will miss that as I transition into the next phase of my life. I have played at the highest levels here in the US and against some of the greatest clubs all over the world and it is those experiences that will never be forgotten! With that said I have decided to step away from soccer as a professional permanently. I will continue to enjoy the game as an amateur, but it is something that I am 100% sure of, okay with and have no regrets and am looking forward to the next phase in my life.

“Because of the travels I have been on in my career I have seen some of the coolest places in the world and I have met some of the most important people in the world because of soccer. One of those and the most important one is my wife and now that I have decided to retire from professional soccer I will be able to spend much more time with her and others that I was unable to do before and this is something that I am beyond happy and grateful for.

“I am excited about entering a different profession whatever that may be, but I will always be a fan of the game and the teams that helped me achieve my goals in life up to this point. And with that all I have left to say is thank you for the memories, support, and happiness I have received in my lifetime of playing and know that I will “dig deep” in the next phase of my life.”


5 Responses
  1. tomASS permalink
    June 23, 2011

    From what I read and can interpret from these articles is that a young man was not treated with the respect and decency he deserved based on what he has given to our game. The business side of our sport is no different than any other sport.

  2. June 23, 2011

    I was lucky enough to watch Tony as a Timber for years. He was always loved for his hard work, class and ability. T12 is held deep in the hearts of Timbers supporters and while I am sad to hear him abruptly dropped by Tampa Bay, I am glad to hear he is back in the Rose City.

  3. June 23, 2011

    Good luck to Tony McManus as he leaves our game. They need and want passion and devotion on the field but as a business it is just brutal.

  4. June 23, 2011

    Love Tony McManus. He was the heart and sole of the midfield for the Timbers and he was somebody who simply a lot of fun. He wore his heart on his sleeve and usually kept his shin guards at home. I am glad he is able to reflect and spend time with his wife.

  5. sedlie permalink
    June 24, 2011

    * cheers *
    * chugs some g2 *

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