Toronto FC midfielder and captain Michael Bradley announced today that he will retire from professional football at the conclusion of the 2023 Major League Soccer (MLS) season.
Bradley, 36, one of the most accomplished players in club history, will end a remarkable 19-year career that saw him play for seven top-division clubs in Europe and North America while being a key player for the U.S. Men's National Team (USMNT).
“On January 13, 2014, I sat at a press conference and said that I had never been ‘more excited, more determined, and more motivated for any challenge in my entire career.’ I meant every single word,” said Bradley. “For the last 10 years I have spilled my blood, sweat and tears trying to help this club be the best it could be. There were some incredible days – moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life – and some bad ones too. But I never stopped giving everything I had. Thank you to all my teammates, coaches, and everyone inside the club. Thank you to the fans for the unforgettable nights at BMO Field. This city and this club will always be home.”
Acquired as a Designated Player by Toronto FC on January 13, 2014, Bradley became a mainstay for the Reds over the past ten seasons (2014-2023), leading TFC to five MLS Cup playoffs and to several of the club’s highest achievements, including one MLS Cup, one Supporters' Shield, and four Canadian Championships. He recently made his 300th appearance for Toronto FC (across all competitions) when he started against Columbus Crew on August 26, 2023, becoming the second player in club history to make 300 appearances for Toronto FC. The midfielder was a key player in the Reds’ historic ‘Treble’ winning season, when the club captured the MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield, and Canadian Championship in 2017, becoming the first team in MLS history to win three domestic trophies in the same season.
In 10 seasons with the Reds, Bradley lifted nine trophies as the team’s captain including one MLS Cup (2017), three Eastern Conference Championships (2016, 2017, 2019), one Supporters’ Shield (2017) and four Canadian Championships (2016, 2017, 2018, 2020). Bradley has registered 19 goals through 307 appearances in all competitions and is the only TFC player who has played every minute of every MLS Cup Playoff game in club history.
“Over the past decade with Toronto FC, Michael Bradley has become a club legend,” said Toronto FC President Bill Manning. “As Captain in over 300 games, Michael has raised many trophies along the way and has represented this club in the best possible way. His accomplishments with TFC will live on forever and all of us at the club thank him for the memories.”
Born in Princeton, New Jersey, Bradley began his youth career in Chicago playing for Chicago Sockers FC [United Soccer League] before receiving his first call-up to the United States U-17 Team Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida where he spent four semesters (2002-2004). In 2004, Bradley signed a Project-40 (now Generation adidas) contract with MLS at the age of 16 and was selected 36th overall in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft by the MetroStars. Bradley scored his first career MLS goal against Chivas USA, a game-winner that pushed the MetroStars into the playoffs, on October 16, 2005. In two seasons (2004-2005) with the club, he registered one goal and four assists in 30 appearances, before moving to SC Heerenveen of the Eredivisie. In Netherlands, Bradley spent three seasons (2005/2006,2006/2007, 2007/2008) scoring 21 combined goals through 69 appearances across all competitions.
“We want to congratulate Michael on a historic career for both club and country. As a member of Toronto FC, Michael served as the captain and driving force of the most prolific period of success in our club's history,” said Toronto FC General Manager Jason Hernandez. “For 10 years, Michael committed himself to striving for greatness with TFC and was a central figure in many of our greatest triumphs as a club. We want to take this opportunity to thank Michael for all that he has done for our club and our city. His legacy, both on and off the field, will be cemented in our club's history forever.”
From 2008 to 2011, Bradley featured for Borussia Mönchengladbach of the Bundesliga, scoring 10 goals in 76 combined appearances for the German club. The midfielder made his Bundesliga debut when he came on as a substitute on September 20, 2008, against Hertha BSC and registered his first goal for Mönchengladbach against Bayern Munich on November 15, 2008. After three seasons in Germany, the midfielder spent the 2011-12 season on loan at Aston Villa of the English Premier League, where he made four appearances before signing with Italian Serie A club A.C. Chievo Verona (Chievo) in August 2011. He made his debut when he came on as a substitute on September 18 against Parma FC and registered his first goal Chievo against Catania on April 7, 2012. Bradley scored one goal in 35 appearances for Chievo, before joining AS Roma (Italian Serie A) in July 2012. In two seasons with Roma, he made a combined 46 appearances before signing for Toronto FC and returning to MLS.
On the international stage, Bradley featured for the United States Men’s National Team from 2006 to 2019, registering 17 goals and 23 assists in 151 appearances for the USMNT. In 2019, Bradley became only the third player to earn 150 caps for the USMNT following Cobi Jones and Landon Donovan and is currently third all-time on the country’s appearance charts with 151 matches. Bradley represented the U.S. at four Concacaf Gold Cup tournaments (2007, 2015, 2017, 2019), including the United States' 2007 and 2017 championship-winning sides. Bradley appeared in matches at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, where the U.S. finished as runners-up to Brazil, and featured in every match for the USMNT at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups. He made his debut for the USMNT as a substitute in a friendly match against Venezuela on May 26, 2006, and registered his first international goal in a 1-0 victory over Switzerland on October 17, 2007. His last appearance for the U.S. Men’s National Team came against Austria in a friendly on November 19, 2013. During his time with the national team, Bradley has earned a number of individual recognitions, including being named the U.S. Young Male Athlete of the Year (2007), the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year (2015), two Concacaf Men's Best XI (2015, 2018) selections, the Concacaf Gold Cup Golden Ball (2017), and two Concacaf Gold Cup Best XI (2017, 2019) selections.
Bradley’s farewell match will take place at BMO Field this Saturday, October 21 (6:00 p.m. ET) when Toronto FC’s captain leads the Reds out in his final MLS game against Orlando City SC.
Come join us as we celebrate Bradley’s legendary career.