Pavel Pardo, the Mexican World Cup veteran who aided the Fire's revival in the past two seasons, is calling it a career.
The 36-year-old midfielder announced his retirement Saturday, ending a 19-year-professional career that included stops in Mexico, play with a German Bundeliga champion and in the United States.
"This was a very difficult decision, but after speaking with my family, I've decided that it is the right time to retire," said Pardo, in a statement released by the Fire. "I've had the opportunity to play for world-class clubs and represent my country at the highest level. The journey has been an exciting one and I'm proud of the things I've accomplished along the way."
He joined the Fire in July 2011 and was key in a late-season surge as the Fire just missing out on postseason play. Pardo re-signed with the club on Jan. 18, 2012 and ended with 41 Major League Soccer career appearances and 39 starts. He had two goals and nine career assists.
The Fire added midfield depth in the offseason, including two transactions this past week, possibly in anticipation of the end of Pardo's playing career.
The statement did not offer any information on Pardo's future plans and a Fire spokesman said the team had nothing to add at this time.
Pardo made 148 appearances with the Mexican national team, including competition in the 1998 and 2006 FIFA World Cups. He was also part of a 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup team and CONCACAF Gold Cup winning teams in 1998 and 2003.
He's the second most capped player in Mexican soccer history.
"It has been a truly great experience to have had Pavel Pardo represent the Fire on-and-off-the-field," Fire owner Andrew Hauptman said in a statement. "Pavel's character, leadership and integrity as an individual rival his passion, ability and skill on the field."