Hartman retiring after 17 years in MLS

Kevin Hartman (New York Red Bulls)


One of the most accomplished goalkeepers in MLS history is calling it a career.

New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Kevin Hartman is officially hanging up his cleats and gloves after spending an illustrious 17-year career in MLS, sources confirmed to SBI on Thursday. The 39-year-old veteran who was not used in regular season action in 2013 ends his playing days as the league’s all-time leader in wins (180) for a goalkeeper and cleansheets (111).

Hartman’s distinguished career includes several other accolades. He was the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 1999 and won a pair of U.S. Open Cups, two MLS Cups, and three Supporters’ Shield trophies.

Beginning his career with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1997, Hartman also played for the Kansas City Wizards and FC Dallas before joining the Red Bulls as a free agent this past season. He also earned five caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Nicknamed ‘El Gato’ for his catlike reaction saves, Hartman said earlier this year that he signed with the Red Bulls as a way to continue his playing career while also being able to somewhat get into the coaching side of the game.

Hartman did not play in an official match for a New York team that won the Supporters’ Shield in 2013, but he did play 30 minutes for the club in a 2-2 friendly vs. Olympique Lyon in July. Hartman replaced incumbent Luis Robles in that match in the 32nd minute before making way for rookie Santiago Castano a half hour later.


What do you think of Hartman’s retirement? How do you look back on his career? What is your most memorable Hartman moment?

Share your thoughts below.

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16 Responses to Hartman retiring after 17 years in MLS

  1. Super says:

    Kevin Hartman. Thank you for being a pro all the way, didn’t see you in a RB game but having you on the team certainly made a difference on Robles and the other guys. Good Luck!!

  2. Test says:

    Grew up watching this guy. Was at the Aston Villa vs LA game back in 97 where he earned the nickname ” el gato”. A class individual and one hell of a goalkeeper..congratulations.

  3. Michael says:

    He was born in Athens, Ohio–my hometown! Great player. Total pro.

    • DtK says:

      Yeah, but he played high school soccer in palos verdes (my hometown). Been watching Kevin for a long, long time – class guy, great keeper, consummate pro.

  4. Ian says:

    MLS and LA Galaxy legend. Congrats to El Gato.

  5. Mensrea says:

    Great player–he anchored two very good FC Dallas teams from a few years ago.

    I think he was underappreciated because of his inability to consistently make US camps, but even a handful of caps for a US GK is a big deal.

  6. NAT says:

    why did he never go abroad?

  7. Scott e Dio93 says:

    DAMN!!! Hartman aged badly!!!

    I always wanted to see Hartman with USNT, but Arena was forgiven by one single mistake. I was happy when Hartman replace Campos (Campos was worthless), in the Galaxy.

  8. Luetchy says:

    Thanks for several solid seasons in Dallas. Was shocked to see you go. El Gato will always be one of my favorite goalies of all time.

  9. SilverRey says:

    Easily one of the best keepers in MLS. I always felt he was so underrated! I’m extremely surprised at how long it took someone to snatch him up after Dallas let him go. Must have been lingering issues from the Henry injury….

  10. Pingback: Report: Red Bulls' keeper, MLS legend Kevin Hartman retires

  11. jimcrist says:

    My favorite Kevin Hartman memory was the time I asked him if I could touch his hair when he was on the bench during an Open Cup match while with KC. He let me do it like 5 times during the game. When I saw him at the bar afterwards, he would no longer let me get away with it.

  12. DCLee says:

    Class player. Good luck in your endeavors and thanks for letting that turf sniper get you in the 99 MLS Cup final (-;

  13. Tisha says:

    I was lucky I watch him play for the Kansas City wizards! Congrats on a great career Kevin!