There have been more talented players to wear a Sounders FC uniform, but perhaps none more beloved by Seattle soccer fans than Roger Levesque. After a final sendoff in next week’s friendly against Chelsea FC, Levesque plans to retire, the team announced Friday.
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 Major League Soccer version in 2009. Just as he did 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,” Seattle 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. He scored 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 just 48 seconds into the game, a goal he celebrated by pretending to be a tree that 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. After scoring a second goal against New York, he sat on an advertising board before falling over backward, 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.”
The Sounders plan to honor Levesque on Oct. 7 at CenturyLink Field. Seattle’s opponent that night?