On Wednesday morning, D.C. United’s Taylor Kemp announced his retirement from soccer in a post on Twitter. The left back, who was drafted by the club in 2013, had not appeared in a game for the Black-and-Red since August 2017, going through several issues related to a groin and hernia injury suffered last year. In June, the team confirmed that Kemp would miss the rest of the year, after having not made much progress in getting back to the field after surgery last year.
Kemp was originally by United with the 17th pick of the first round of the 2013 MLS Superdraft, from the University of Maryland. In his first year, Kemp split time between the Richmond Kickers and United’s first team, as the Black-and-Red endured the worst ever season in MLS history. Kemp was due to see more time with Richmond in 2014, after United brought in Spanish left back Christian Fernández as the starter.
Kemp appeared five times for the Kickers in 2014, before Christian asked to move back home to Spain, despite playing regularly for the Black-and-Red. Kemp immediately took over at left back, and was a mainstay as United completed their worst to first transformation between 2013 and 2014. Near the end of the 2014 season, Kemp scored this goal against the Houston Dynamo, earning the nickname ‘Shooter’ from his teammates.
Kemp became United’s unquestioned starter at left back, as they made the playoffs the next two years, in 2015 and 2016. Kemp continued that run in 2017, when he started and played 90 minutes of the first 22 of 23 games for D.C. However, the 1-1 draw against Toronto FC on August 5th at RFK Stadium was the last time that Kemp would see the field in a competitive match.
Shortly after, Kemp had surgery on a hernia issue, and was out for the rest of the season. It came as a surprise when he did not participate early on in the 2018 preseason, as the timetable for his return had clearly passed. The team, including Head Coach Ben Olsen, kept talking as if Kemp would return at some point, but he was never seen on the training field this year by B&RU.
Eventually, on June 22nd, the team announced that Kemp was out for the rest of the year, having surgery on his labrum. In his steed, Joseph Mora manned the left back position most of the year, after United desperately paid a transfer fee for the Costa Rican back in March, when it appeared that Kemp wasn’t about to return any time soon. There had been rumblings about Kemp’s retirement in recent days, with the 28-year-old stepping away on his own terms on Wednesday morning.
He ends his United career with 101 games played, and 95 starts. Kemp scored 3 regular season goals to go along with 14 assists, in addition to a playoff goal and helper to his name. Kemp followed up his retirement post with this tweet.
And if you’re wondering what I’m doing now—currently in Paris about to set out on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. A 6 week, 500 mile, pilgrimage from southern France to the northwest corner of Spain. Follow along ➡️ @OPPilgrim pic.twitter.com/WCucR77HvP— Taylor Kemp (@Tkemp02) November 7, 2018