Despite not exactly being a household name in MLS, the San Jose Earthquakes’ retiring Ramiro Corrales (first row, second from right) received a memorable sendoff in his last ever match as a professional footballer. With the Quakes all but eliminated from playoff contention ahead of their season-capping match against FC Dallas, the defender was handed a rare start by interim manager Mark Watson. And for the pre-match walkout and photo, Corrales’ was honored by each of his teammates all sporting one of his jerseys from his 18-year-long career. And when he was substituted in the 60th minute, he was literally carried off the pitch to raucous applause.
So why exactly did Corrales get such a dramatic sending off? As it turns out, Ramiro is the very last player from the original MLS “Class of 1996”. At the time, he was the youngest player in the league aged just 19 — which is odd given how regular it is to see a player of that age these days on an MLS roster. And after 18 years, 307 league appearances, 16 goals, 5 caps for the full US Men’s National Team, two MLS Cups and a Supporters Shield he’s finally decided it’s time to hang up his boots. A fitting end for a long and successful, if not headline making, career.