Roger Levesque, one of the Sounders' most popular and enduring figures, will retire after the Chelsea friendly Wednesday to pursue a Master's degree in business administration.
The 31-year-old forward and Stanford grad seeks a career in the nonprofit world, he told Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times.
"I think initially it was the Sounders' organization putting the players into positions where they could be out in the community that got us out there," Levesque said. "You know, to market the team and to give back to the fans who were supporting the team.
"But then a lot of the guys also realized that there was a great opportunity to have an even greater impact in the community. With the visibility you have being with the Sounders, you realize you can really have an impact. When you're put in those positions, something clicks that says, 'Hey, I can do a lot of good here.' "
A reserve with seven game appearances, three starts and no goals, Levesque at 31 wasn't likely to get more playing time. After nine years in Seattle, it was time to move on.
Roger exemplifies what it means to be a Sounder," said head coach Sigi Schmid in a statement from the club. "He has character, determination, work ethic, skill and a never-say-die attitude for the club on the field. He has represented the Sounders organization well through his charitable work in the Seattle community."
Levesque signed with the Sounders FC March 16, 2009 after spending nearly six seasons (2003-08) with the USL-1 Sounders. Levesque made 53 appearances (18 starts), scoring six goals with two assists in his 3.5 MLS seasons in Seattle. He added another three goals and eight assists in U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League play, including the game-winning goal in the 2009 Open Cup final.
"I would like to thank the Sounders organization for giving me the opportunity to play professionally for the past nine years," Levesque said in the statement. "I am fortunate to see the sport grow in such a great city, and to be a part of it for so long. I'm proud of my community work and I look forward to continuing my involvement with the Seattle community."
He spent three seasons with San Jose after being selected by the Earthquakes 23rd overall in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. He made four appearances in his three seasons with San Jose, spending much of his time on loan to the USL-1 Sounders before signing with the club in 2006. In his six seasons with the USL side, Levesque scored 27 goals in 130 regular season matches, helping the team to the league championship in 2005 and 2007 and the Open Cup semifinals in 2007 and 2008.
Levesque was named MLS Humanitarian of the Month in May of 2012.