Simms Retires, Reveals Battle with Kidney Disease

(Photo: Kari Heistad/CapturedImages.biz)

(Photo: Kari Heistad/CapturedImages.biz)

Former New England Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms announced his retirement on Thursday, citing a previously-private battle against a rare kidney disease as the reason behind the decision.

Simms, 31, was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) as a teenager, and has battled the disease throughout his nine-year playing career.

“I’ve never really talked about this because I always chose the mind over matter approach,” Simms said in a team release on Thursday. “But my health has gotten to a point where I can no longer do that.”

The veteran defensive midfielder was originally drafted by D.C. United in 2005, and spent his first seven seasons in the Nation’s Capital. He played in 182 contests for the side, and became one of the most dependable players in the league despite his condition.

Following the 2011 season, the Revolution acquired the reliable holding midfielder in the Re-Entry Process. On paper, it appeared to be a minor offseason move. But on the pitch, the addition of Simms helped strengthen a midfield that had fallen into complete disarray the year before.

But Simms wasn’t just another player on the pitch. He donned the captain’s armband after Shalrie Joseph was dealt to Chivas USA midway through the 2012 season, and established himself as a leader on a young squad that desperately sought direction.

As sound as Simms looked on the pitch, he continued to wage his battle against FSGS in private. And as he entered his second year with the Revolution, he knew that time was running out.

“When I started playing with D.C., my kidney function was around 50 percent,” Simms said. “And the last three years of my career, it has gotten down to about 20 percent.”

With his body unable to withstand the grind of a 10th MLS season, Simms decided that it was time to call it a career.

“It has become too tough for me to compete at this level anymore,” Simms said. “I made sure for as long as I could I would still fight for my dream, my passion. I was very lucky to have had such a great run, but now it’s time to fight another battle.”

Widely regarded as one of the classiest players in MLS, the 31-year-old midfielder stayed true to that reputation by showing his appreciation for those who cheered and supported him during his playing career, which took him from the Richmond Kickers (USL) to D.C. United to the New England Revolution.

“Thank you to all the fans, teammates, and coaches that supported me and helped me along my journey,” Simms said. “To the Richmond Kickers, D.C. United and the New England Revolution, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your families. I will always be a fan. And to my family and people closest to me, thank you for allowing me to follow my dream.”

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About Brian O'Connell

Brian O'Connell serves as editor and staff writer at New England Soccer Today. He's also the Revolution beat writer for ESPNBoston.com, and is Officer at Large for the North American Soccer Reporters. He regularly contributes to The Associated Press, and has been featured on MLSSoccer.com & RevsNet.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianOConnell21 or contact him via e-mail at BOConnell21@aol.com