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Earnie Stewart Retires from Professional Soccer

CHICAGO (May 23, 2005) - Former U.S. international Earnie Stewart has announced his retirement from professional soccer, stepping away from his playing career after spending the 2004-05 season with VVV Venlo in the Netherlands. Stewart began his professional career back in 1988, spending 14 total seasons in the Dutch Eredivisie with Willem II and NAC Breda.

"Earnie Stewart had a fabulous career with the national team. His commitment, leadership, and versatility were instrumental in the USA's success in both the 1994 and 2002 World Cups," U.S. manager Bruce Arena said. "He brought experience, humor and pride to the field every day.  We have the greatest respect for Earnie and want to wish him the very best as well as thank him for his service to U.S. Soccer."

Stewart earned his final cap with the United States in 2004 in the USA's 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw in Jamaica. The appearance was the 101st of the veterans 14-year international career that saw him score 17 goals for the United States. His 101 caps rank seventh all-time in team history and his 17 goals are sixth.

 "I just hope that throughout my career, I brought everything I had to the field and that I'm remembered as a good person," said Stewart. "I'm not going to have the feeling that I want to be there. Of course you want to be there, but I'm not playing at this moment so it's further away. But it's going to be fun to look at my former teammates, Claudio (Reyna) and all my friends, and see them do well. That'll be fantastic."

A veteran of three World Cups, Stewart is best remembered for the goal against Colombia at the 1994 World Cup that help lift the U.S. into the second round. His 30 World Cup qualifying appearances and 9 goals are both all-time U.S. bests, as are his 11 World Cup games played (tied with Cobi Jones).

Winner of the 2001 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year award, Stewart spent one season in MLS with D.C. United in 2004, helping the team win their fourth MLS Cup crown.

The 36-year-old Stewart steps aside from this playing career with one year left on his contract and will take over as the club's new technical director.