Everytime a soccer player starts a career, it is the most wonderful thing to see, when they start off young and energetic. But one day when they get to an age, where they can’t continue on or they decided to say goodbye, that career is coming to an end.
On the afternoon of Saturday, February 23rd, the Glen Cove, NY native Mike Grella informed everyone on Social Media, that he has decided to retire from the professional game and come home.
Grella attended Duke University and was apart of the US U-18 National Team. In 80 apperances with the Duke Blue Devils, Grella scored 41 goals, then he made the move To start his professional career with the Long Island Rough Riders & the Cary Cleats in two seasons from 2007 till 2008
Then he made the move to Europe in 2009, and started his journey playing in England with Leeds United. Then a couple of loan spells with Carlisle United and Swindon Town, before moving to Brentford for a season in 2011.
Made several apperanes with Scunthorpe United, then a move to Viborg F.F. in the Danish league, before returning to the states and played with North Carolina FC (Formerly Carolina Rail Hawks) in 2014. Then Jesse Marssh called him to come over to the New York Red Bulls in the 2015 season, and from there he thrived in the press system.
Playing with Sacha Kljestan, Lloyd Sam, Luis Robles and Bradley Wright-Phillips, he led the attack that brought the club their second Supporters Shield, in three seasons. I club that no one expected them to do anything, and proved the critics wrong.
In three seasons with the Red Bulls Mike Grella was able to convert 16 times. His match winner at the Columbus Crew was the 1,000 goal in club history on March 28th, 2015. A long distance floating chip that beat Steve Clark from distance.
How could we ever forget the fastest goal scored in Major League Soccer on Sunday, October 18th, as it took the man seven seconds to from kickoff to beating Andre Blake inside the near post with a huge run, and some help as his shot deflected off a defender.
These magnificent goals that Grella scored, he also showed some class in the first series against New York City FC, when he nutmeged the Chelsea legend in Frank Lampard. In this video from MLS head over to the 2:02 mark and enjoy the fun.
Let’s also not forget his hand in the seven goals to nil destruction in 2016 with a couple of step overs, until he made the defender fell down, made a nice cross to BWP and headed in the second goal of the match.
With all these savy moves and historic goals, Mike Grella earned his nickname from the supporters, as he was forever known as “Grelladinho” that shows the true class of what Mike Grella meant to the supporters of the New York Red Bulls.
But sadly it was injuries that decided to knock him out and forced him into retirement. But let’s not think about the sadness, let’s think about the wonderful memories that Grella performed on the pitch and got those magical victories for the Red Bulls.
But what I will take away from my time talking to Mike either after the matches inside Red Bull Arena, or at the training facility, is his humbleness and humility of showing respect to the game. At the same time enjoying being back home to play in front of the best fans in the league.
Congratulations on a great career Mike and hope the future is bright for you and your family.