The following is a letter from Gonzalo Segares, who on Wednesday (Feb. 4) announced his retirement from professional soccer. The Costa Rican defender played 10 seasons with the Fire, appearing in 264 games across all competitions and recording 12 goals and 19 assists.
“Today is a very sad day for me, as I am announcing retirement from the sport that I love after 10 years of playing as a professional. First, I would like to thank my wife Rusti, my parents Gonzalo and Floria, my brothers Jorge and Fernando, and all my family and friends that have supported me since I was a kid playing soccer in Costa Rica.
"It has been an incredible ride for me, filled with many good memories and amazing moments that I will never forget. This game has given me the honor of representing my country, my Club and to make my family proud. I leave the sport today knowing that I left it all in the field for them.
"To Andrew and the Fire organization, thank you for letting me fulfill my dreams and allowing me to represent this extraordinary institution. My eternal gratitude goes, as well, to Saprissa, the club where I was formed, and to VCU, who brought me to the United States to start my career.
"I had many coaches during this time and all of them have been essential to my development as a player and as a person. It would be unfair to leave one name behind so I would like to deeply thank all of you for all the lessons and patience.
"To Section 8, Sector Latino, Costa Rica and all the fans that supported me throughout these years, I just want to say thank you, thank you, and thank you. You are the ones that made my career so special and the reason it is so hard to say goodbye. I will always keep all of you close to my heart.
"It is time for me to move on to a different opportunity and, even though it is hard, I am excited to now begin a new challenge with the Chicago Fire as a club ambassador and coach in the Chicago Fire Academy.”