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Chicago Fire Midfielder Pavel Pardo Announces Retirement

January 19, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Chicago Fire

CHICAGO, Ill. (Jan. 19, 2013) - The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Saturday that midfielder Pavel Pardo has retired from professional soccer. A two-time Mexican World Cup veteran and the second-most capped player in Mexican National Team history brings an end to a 19-year professional career that saw him compete at the top levels in Mexico, Germany and the United States.

"This was a very difficult decision, but after speaking with my family, I've decided that it is the right time to retire from professional soccer," said Pardo. "I've had the opportunity to play for world-class clubs and represent my country at the highest level. The journey has been an exciting one and I'm proud of the things I've accomplished along the way. Thank you to all of my teammates, coaches, clubs, family and most importantly my fans for supporting me for the last 19 years. I'm excited about the next phase of my career and look forward to being involved in soccer for many more years to come."

Pardo joined the Fire in July 2011 and was instrumental in the turnaround as the Fire made a late-season surge, just missing out on postseason play. Pardo re-signed with the club on Jan. 18, 2012 and lead the Fire to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. In two seasons with the Men in Red, Pardo made 41 regular season appearances, scoring two goals and adding nine assists.

"It has been a truly great experience to have had Pavel Pardo represent the Fire on-and-off-the-field," said Fire owner Andrew Hauptman. "Pavel's character, leadership and integrity as an individual rival his passion, ability and skill on the field. Our club is honored to have been a part of Pavel's 19-year professional career. Pavel will forever remain a member of the Fire family."

Pardo began his career with hometown Mexican Primera side Club Atlas, where he appeared in 156 matches and recorded seven goals from 1993-98. Following a brief stint with UAG Tecos, Pardo joined Mexican giants Club America for the first of two career stints in 1999. It was with las Aguilas that Pardo made his mark, appearing in 224 matches, scoring 24 goals from 1999-2006 while helping the club to the 2002 Verano and 2005 Clausura championships as well as the 2006 CONCACAF Champions Cup.

"We want to thank Pavel for his contributions as a member of the Fire," said Chicago Fire President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon. "He was an integral part of our squad as we returned to the playoffs in 2012 and the leadership and experience that he brought to our locker room was tremendous. Pavel has had an illustrious career for both club and country. We wish him all the best as he transitions into the next chapter of his life."

His play for America propelled him to Europe, signing with German side Vfb Stuttgart in 2006. While with Die Roten, Pardo appeared in 71 matches, scoring four times while helping the Reds to the 2006-07 Bundesliga title, the club's first since 1992. He returned to Club America following the 2009 Bundesliga season, going on to play in another 86 matches for las Aguilas through the 2011 Mexican Clausura.

Pardo is the second-most capped player in Mexican National Team history, with 148 appearances for el Tricolor. The central midfielder appeared in seven matches for his country during the 1998 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, helping the side to Round of 16 appearances in both tournaments. Pardo was also a member of the Mexican side that hosted and won the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup and has twice been a part of Mexico's CONCACAF Gold Cup winning teams in 1998 and 2003.

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