By Sandy Beeson – Twitter: @Sandy_Beeson
US international striker Eddie Johnson looks set for a shock retirement with the Washington Post reporting that the 31-year-old forward will call time on his career with MLS side DC United due to an ongoing heart condition.
Johnson has been absent from United’s training camp during preseason and the opening weeks of the 2015 campaign because of the condition. Speaking to the Washington Post, United head coach Ben Olsen said: “It’s a terrible situation for Eddie. There is a potential life issue here that has to be focused on and making sure he is not putting himself in any danger to play this sport again. That is all that matters.”
It was before the critical second-leg of DC’s playoff tie against New York Red Bulls on November 8th last year that the condition was first identified. United went on to win the match in Johnson’s absence 2-1 but went out on away goals having lost the first-leg 2-0.
With Johnson taking up a Designated Player spot on DC United’s roster there are due to be imminent legal wrangles, confirmed by Washington Post journalist Steven Goff on Twitter, between the league and the player’s union. It is understood that United are due to be granted cap relief in light of Johnson’s career-ending injury.
D.C. United anticipating salary cap relief this year bec of Eddie Johnson health issues. Career likely over. Lawyers & union involved
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) April 9, 2015
Joining MLS at the age of 16, Johnson would leave as the 21st highest scorer in league history, having scored 71 goals in 202 appearances with Dallas Burn/FC Dallas, Kansas City Wizards and Seattle Sounders before joining DC United on a DP contract prior to the 2014 season.
Between 2008 and 2011 Johnson spent time with then Premier League outfit Fulham, but was unable to make an impact for the Cottagers and was loaned out to Cardiff City, Greek side Aris and Preston North End. Despite his profligacy in Europe, Johnson was regularly selected for the US national team and is currently eighth on the all-time scorers list with 19 goals in 63 appearances.