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Aaron Kovar retires from professional soccer

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Garfield High product was the second player Sounders signed to a Homegrown contract.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

Facing an uncertain future and likely with other career options, Seattle native Aaron Kovar announced on Sunday that he is retiring from professional soccer via a relatively simply Instagram post.

Kovar, 25, was the second-ever Homegrown Player signing by the Seattle Sounders, but after four years of sporadic playing time spent last year with LAFC on loan. Kovar showed enough promise that he made seven starts and 11 appearances for a team that contended for the top spot in the Western Conference until the season’s final week. Despite picking up three assists, though, LAFC did not offer him a contract after the loan expired.

Chances are, Kovar likely could have found a spot on a roster somewhere in MLS or been guaranteed a starting position on any number of USL teams. After five years of making barely more than the league minimum and having less than 1,800 regular-season minutes under his belt, Kovar may have simply felt the grind was simply not worth it.

Thus ends a career that often showed plenty of promise. Kovar was the Washington State Player of the Year in 2011 before heading to Stanford for two seasons. Kovar stood out almost immediately, starting 12 times as a freshman and all 21 of the Cardinal’s games in 2013. He accumulated five goals and eight assists in 36 collegiate appearances.

That was enough for the Sounders to offer him a Homegrown contract before the 2014 season, signing him at the same time as Sean Okoli. DeAndre Yedlin had been the Sounders’ only other Homegrown signing.

Kovar’s professional career never really took off, though. He made just three appearances his rookie year and six in his second, which included two starts. Kovar did make a career high 10 starts in 2016, but made just one appearance after Brian Schmetzer’s hiring and then made just one start and seven appearances in 2017.