Former DC United defender Robbie Russell goes back to school

RobbieRussell_2On May 15, former DC United defender Robbie Russell announced his retirement and that he’d be taking a very different post-career path than most athletes. Russell is coming to Georgetown to pursue a career in medicine.

“I’m really excited about going back to school, opening up the mind again, and learning,” Russell said in a phone interview with Vox. 

Russell leaves behind an impressive professional playing career spanning two continents and six teams.

He began at Icelandic club Breiðablik before moving to Norway to ply his trade with Sogndal Fotball. His outstanding performances there earned him a transfer to Norwegian powerhouse Rosenborg BK. Russell was an integral part of the side that brought home the club’s nineteenth Norwegian title.

After one more stint in a different Scandinavian league, playing for Vibrog FF in the Danish Superligaen, Russell began a new chapter of his career upon being transferred to Utah’s Real Salt Lake. He proved the deciding factor in securing Real Salt Lake’s 2009 MLS Cup after scoring the winning penalty kick in the seventh round of the shootout against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

After several successful years with Real Salt Lake, Russell asked for a transfer to DC United to be closer to his wife. His wish was granted and he was transferred to United in exchange for a first-round pick in the MLS Supplemental Draft. He played at United until the recent end of his career.

Following a brave decision to call time on a successful playing career, Russell has made the perhaps even braver choice of joining the Georgetown University Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program. While he’s wary of the daunting nature of returning to school after such a long absence, he remains positive and excited.

“It’s a little scary and nerve-wracking because I’ve been out of school for so long. It’s also really exciting. When you go back to school in this kind of situation, I get to apply what I know now to what I should’ve done then. It gives you a better sense of focus and drive,” said Russell.

Despite coming to the Hilltop intent on studying medicine and pursuing the education he feels like he missed out on the first time around, Russell hasn’t ruled out training with or assisting the Georgetown soccer program.

Said Russell, “I don’t know any of the coaches at Georgetown, but I know a couple of the guys on the team. They said they’d try and get in touch with the coaches for me, so I’d love to work with the team, but I don’t want to step on any toes!”

Photo courtesy MLS

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