MLS Player Retires to Heed Priestly Calling

Revolution defender Hilgenbrinck will join Maryland seminary
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2008 10:15 AM CDT
A June 18, 2008, photo shows defender Chase Hilgenbrinck in Foxborough, Mass. Hilgenbrinck left the Revolution and retired from professional soccer on Monday to enter a seminary.   (AP Photo/New England Revolution, Keith Nordstrom)
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(Newser) – Chase Hilgenbrinck was a professional soccer player and a devout Catholic until yesterday, when he announced his retirement from the sport. The 26-year-old will head to a Maryland seminary to begin 6 years of training for the priesthood, AP reports. "I still have a great passion for the game," Hilgenbrinck says, but "I felt called to something greater."

The New England Revolution defender began his soccer career in Chile after being passed up in the 2004 MLS draft, and relied on his religion to help him settle into a new culture. Once he began to feel the call toward priesthood, "it was not possible to continue with soccer," even temporarily, because "delayed obedience is disobedience."