PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Timbers defender Nat Borchers today announced that he will retire from professional soccer after a distinguished 14-year playing career. One of only 14 players to play 340 games in MLS history, Borchers concludes his playing career with two MLS Cup championships (2009, 2015) and MLS Best XI honors (2010). Borchers, who spent two seasons with the Timbers, will be recognized at Providence Park during Portland’s home match against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, March 18.
Borchers will continue his association with the Timbers as part of the club’s broadcast team, while also remaining actively involved with the club’s community platform, Stand Together.
“I have given the game everything and will step away extremely grateful to have played 14 professional seasons. While this decision was tremendously difficult, I am proud of my contribution to this chapter of Major League Soccer,” Borchers said. “I played for three well-respected MLS clubs, experienced playing abroad, and made some incredible relationships. To be a professional athlete is a privilege, but I didn’t get here alone. Thank you to my family, friends, coaches, teammates, and fans for their support throughout my career. I am excited for the future challenges that await.”
Thanks to everyone who has been a part of this journey - it's been a pleasure! pic.twitter.com/a1oluSE2tq— Nat Borchers (@natborchers) February 3, 2017
Borchers, 35, made 386 professional appearances over 14 seasons, including 340 games played in MLS (339 starts). Originally acquired by the Colorado Rapids in 2003, Borchers started in all but one of his 340 regular-season appearances in MLS and logged over 2,000 minutes in 11 consecutive seasons (2003-2015), compiling 30,259 regular-season minutes played in his MLS career. One of only six field players in MLS history to play at least 30,000 minutes (tied for 5th), Borchers is tied for sixth all-time in MLS for regular-season starts. Additionally, Borchers has made 11 trips to the postseason, including seven consecutive seasons with Real Salt Lake (2008-2014), compiling 29 postseason games played (29 starts) with three different MLS clubs.
“Signing Nat Borchers prior to the 2015 season was a pivotal moment for the club, and his contributions in helping us win an MLS Cup were massive,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “We wish Nat all the best and congratulate him on a fantastic playing career.”
Borchers joined Portland ahead of the 2015 campaign in a trade between the Timbers and Real Salt Lake. In his first season with the club, Borchers helped guide the Timbers to their first-ever MLS Cup championship, appearing in 31 regular-season games (31 starts) before playing in each of the Timbers’ six games in the MLS Cup Playoffs. In his final season with the club, Borchers made 21 appearances (21 starts) in 2016, scoring one goal and logging 1,812 minutes, before suffering a season-ending injury.
“Nat Borchers will forever be etched in Portland Timbers history for the role he played in helping the club win the 2015 MLS Cup." said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “More than that, he’s shown throughout his career with every club that he’s a first-class professional, on and off the pitch. We look forward to his continued involvement with the Timbers."
Beginning his career in 2003, Borchers made 83 appearances for the Colorado Rapids from 2003-2005, before transferring to Norwegian first-division club Odd Grenland. In two seasons with Odd Grenland, (now known as Odds BK) in the Norwegian Tippeligaen, Borchers made 42 league appearances from 2006-07 before returning to MLS in 2008 to join Real Salt Lake.
While with RSL, the center back appeared in 205 regular-season matches and 19 MLS Cup Playoffs games, as well as both legs of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League final, scoring a goal in the first leg against Mexican club Monterrey. Borchers made 13 appearances in CONCACAF Champions League play for RSL during the 2010-11 and 2012-13 editions of the tournament.
At the international level, Borchers earned three caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team, making his senior international debut on March 9, 2005, in a 3-0 friendly win against Colombia. Borchers’ most recent national team appearance came as a second-half substitute in a 1-0 friendly win against South Africa on Nov. 17, 2010. Prior to his professional career, the defender also played four seasons with the University of Denver from 1999-2002.