Oughton retires, joins front office
Crew icon Duncan Oughton today announced his retirement from professional soccer, following a stellar 10-year career in which he became the longest-serving player in club history. Simultaneously, the Crew announced that he will join the front office as assistant to the technical director, a newly created role in which he will be involved in a variety of functional areas, including community relations, alumni relations, digital content, fan relations and youth player development.
Over the course of his storied career in Black & Gold, Oughton was a part of all five major trophies won by the club and made history by becoming one of the first athletes in any sport to come back from an experimental surgical procedure in which his own cartilage was grown in a lab and reimplanted in his knee, while becoming one of the most beloved figures in club history.
“I am very excited to begin this new chapter in my life and career,” Oughton said. “I am thankful to the organization for allowing me to continue helping promote the sport I love. I would also like to thank my teammates, with whom I have shared great accomplishments throughout the years. I have also shared those accomplishments with our tremendous fans and my friends, who I thank for their support. And lastly, I wish to thank my family for countless hours of driving, watching, supporting and teaching, allowing me to follow my dream of becoming a footballer.”
Oughton was originally selected by Columbus in the first round of the 2001 MLS SuperDraft (No. 10 overall) and spent his entire professional career wearing Black & Gold, appearing in 136 matches (10th in club history) and logging over 9,000 minutes, while scoring three goals and recording 13 assists. He also saw action in 14 U.S. Open Cup matches, tallying one goal and three assists, and was instrumental in the Black & Gold’s qualification to the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, starting four of the club’s six Group B matches and notching one goal and one assist.
“Duncan Oughton’s emotional attachment to the Crew will continue to be just as valuable to the organization off the field as it was to us on the field,” said Crew President & General Manager Mark McCullers. “I personally look forward to working with him to expand our brand, tell our story and achieve our goals.”
After appearing in 91 games over the course of his first four seasons, Oughton’s career was forever altered by a serious knee injury suffered in the final game of the 2004 season. He defied the odds by returning on Aug. 19, 2006, but not before he had missed nearly two seasons.
A 33-year-old native of Wellington, New Zealand, Oughton was also a longtime member of his national team, having been capped 22 times by the All Whites, as New Zealand is known, which he also remarkably returned to following the knee injury. He holds a “B” coaching license from the United States Soccer Federation.
“This sport has given me so much,” Oughton continued. “While it is time to hang up my boots as a player and alleviate the day-to-day stress on my knee, I hope to be able to help pass on what I have learned, as well as my enthusiasm, to the future generations of soccer players while helping grow the game in the United States and New Zealand.”