By John Boyle
There have been more talented players to wear a Sounders FC uniform, but perhaps none more beloved by Seattle soccer fans than Roger Levesque. And after a final sendoff in next week’s friendly against Chelsea FC, Levesque plans to retire, the team announced Friday.
News of Levesque’s retirement was first reported by Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley.
Levesque, 31, is one of two current Sounders, along with defender Zach Scott, who played for the USL version of the Sounders. He made the jump to the MLS version of the team in 2009, and just as he was in his USL days, he quickly became a fan favorite, while remaining a thorn in the side of the rival Portland Timbers, whose fans have long considered Levesque public enemy No. 1, a role he readily embraced.
“Roger exemplifies what it means to be a Sounder,” Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said in press release announcing Levesque’s retirement. “He has character, determination, work ethic, skill and a never-say-die attitude for the club on the field. He has represented the Sounders organization well through his charitable work in the Seattle community.”
Levesque, who played for the USL Sounders from 2003 to 2008, appeared in 53 games for the MLS team, starting 18 games. He scores six goals and had two assists in league play, and also scored three goals and had eight assists in U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions league play. He is perhaps best known for his 2009 U.S. Open Cup goal in Portland that came only 48 seconds into the game, a goal he followed by pretending to be a tree which teammate Nate Jaqua chopped down. Needless to say, that move didn’t win over any Timbers fans who already despised Levesque. In 2011, Levesque gained a bit of national attention for his “Scuba diver” goal celebration when, after scoring a second goal against New York, sat on an advertising board before falling over backwards, a move he admitted he had practiced at home on a couch.
“I would like to thank the Sounders organization for giving me the opportunity to play professionally for the past nine years,” Levesque said in the release. “I am fortunate to see the sport grow in such a great city, and to be a part of it for so long. I’m proud of my community work and I look forward to continuing my involvement with the Seattle community.”