COMMERCE CITY — Moments after Drew Moor let soccer fans across North America know he was retiring after an 18-year career in Major League Soccer, the messages “just started flooding in.”
It took the 38-year-old Colorado Rapids defender days to respond to all of them, and there’s still likely to be a few more after this weekend, when the Rapids end the season with a 3 p.m. kickoff Sunday in Moor’s home state of Texas against Austin FC.
“The support has been a bit overwhelming in a good way,” Moor said in his final week of official team training — which should hover around 720 weeks from preseason to playoffs for his career, give or take a few. “A lot of people reached out from former coaches, former teammates — just people that you meet along the way.”
He’s gotten the chance to play with countless teammates from every corner of the globe. He has learned under dozens of coaches about mastering defensive principles. And after the full-time whistle sounds, he can usually be found thanking the thousands of supporters in attendance, like when he took his final lap around Dick’s Sporting Goods Park last weekend.
Those are the people Moor has met along the way. And for that, he’s grateful.
“It’s 90 minutes of work on the weekend. Of course, you go through a lot to get to those 90 minutes and prepare for those 90 minutes, but, when you’re not on the game field you’re surrounded by people you’d literally run through a brick wall for,” Moor said. “That’s what I’ve been thinking about the last couple of weeks and months.”
Rapids head coach Robin Fraser and Moor go back to 2005, when the pair faced each other as Fraser was leaving the league and Moor was entering it. The two were formally introduced to one another in 2006 and since, there’s been a lot of success, between four trophies in a three-year span and an MLS Cup. He also was a key piece of the Rapids’ lone championship in 2010.
When Fraser was first hired in 2020, bringing in the then-35-year-old veteran was a no-brainer because of what he’d seen throughout the years.
“I love him,” Fraser said following Moor’s final home appearance at DSGP last weekend. “The two things about his physical characteristics are, he’s not overly fast and is not particularly strong. But, I’ve seen Drew get into the most unbelievable challenges, stick his head in places where nobody should stick their head. I’ve seen him on the wrong end of some really, really hard challenges, and I can’t believe he gets up and just keeps on playing. … After 18 years, he’s one of the best center backs to ever play in this league.
“… He’s such a genuine and selfless person, that it carries over. The way he carries himself in the locker room, the way he carries himself on the field — guys understand that if Drew tells them something, it’s because it’s what needs to be done.”
Moor joked he was jealous of the new generation entering MLS now. It’s an entirely different league than when he first laced up his boots — from the style of play to compensation and working conditions. Still, he expects some bedrock characteristics like grittiness and tough love to hold up long after a final exit interview next week.
“I think that it’s important that you still have to work for it,” he said. “You still have to dedicate a lot of time, energy and love into the game and to be aware that this league is in a really good spot. There’s good players and coaches coming in. It’s not just a league where you can grow up loving soccer and trying pretty hard, training every once in a while and expect to come in and make a difference. You’ve gotta dedicate your entire life and everything you have to it.”
Moor, his wife, Shelby, and sons Joey and Ryan, will be in Colorado for the foreseeable future. Moor is looking to transition into a front office role starting in 2023. For now, though, he’s soaking in his last few days as a player, and realizing the impact he’s had on Major League Soccer.
“It means everything for me to be a Burgundy Boy,” Moor said. “… Retiring with the Rapids, there’s no other way I would have wanted it to go. It’s such a special place and I plan on it continuing to be a special place.”