After an 11-year career in Major League Soccer, Real Salt Lake center back David Horst announced he is retiring.
Horst broke the news on his Instagram account Wednesday morning. He spent a total of five years with RSL, including the last two. His contract option for next season was declined by the team.
Horst suffered a fully ruptured right Achilles tendon in late June that kept him sidelined for the remainder of the 2018 season. He played in five games and started in three this past season.
“At my age and being the type of player I am, it’s a really hard injury to come back from to play at the same level that I was at,” Horst told The Salt Lake Tribune. “I always told myself that, during a recovery, if I don’t feel like I can come back and play at the same level that I was at before, that to me it’s not worth it then.”
Horst said when RSL informed him it would go in a different direction because of his injury history, he took it as a sign that it was time to hang it up.
Horst plans to pursue coaching as his next venture, he said, either in the youth game or within the RSL organization. He has worked privately with various youth soccer players, he said.
“I’m hoping to just get started [with coaching] right away," Horst said. “I don’t want really want to take too much time off.”
Horst spent much of his second stint with RSL mentoring some of the younger players. He said veterans like Kyle Beckerman, Chris Wingert and Nat Borchers helped him when he first entered the league, so he wanted to pay it forward.
“If I could help them in any way that I can, whether it’s on the field or off the field, I wanted to do that because they’re good kids, and I like them as people, as soccer players,” Horst said. “So I wanted to help them in any way that I could. People did that for me and I was forever grateful for it. So if I could do that for just one person, then I did my job.”
The 33-year-old had signed with RSL as a free agent in January 2017. He spent three seasons each with the Houston Dynamo and Portland Timbers before that.
RSL drafted Horst 14th overall in 2008. He was on the team that won the MLS Cup in 2009. Horst said those two events were highlights in his career. He was also on loan with the Puerto Rico Islanders for seven months in 2010 and won the Caribbean and USL championships.
Horst played in 148 games in the MLS — starting 129 — and scored five goals while adding four assists.