FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – “All good things must come to an end.”
That’s a sentiment that echoed through the halls at Gillette Stadium for the New England Revolution on Thursday afternoon, as 11-year veteran Chris Tierney officially announced his retirement.
The Wellesley, Mass., native has a long list of accomplishments with the club – he’s the longest-tenured field player in Revolution history, scoring 16 goals and adding 44 assists in 271 appearances in all competitions – and his soccer legacy will live on forever in Foxborough. But perhaps the most cherished aspect of Tierney’s time with New England, even greater than these achievements, was the relationships he formed along his journey.
“The best part about this game is coming into the locker room and meeting and hanging out with people that you might never have had a chance to otherwise meet,” said Tierney. “I’ve had many lifelong friends made here that I’ll continue to be in touch with and be great friends with, so that’s the most special part of this whole deal.”
Throughout his career Tierney played alongside many legends, including Taylor Twellman, Matt Reis, Jay Heaps, and more. From year one as a rookie to his 11th and final season, Tierney was an integral part of the team, and between his competitive nature and genuine qualities, he became a guiding presence over the years in the locker room.
“He’s my big brother on the team,” said Kelyn Rowe, who played alongside Tierney for seven seasons. “He really took me under his wing when he had been here three or four years already when I first came in and kind of kept me on a straight arrow. He kept me being the best professional I could and made sure I kept working hard. Whether it’d be tough love, or support, he was always there.”
A similar sentiment was expressed by Teal Bunbury, who played five seasons with Tierney.
“His hard work, dedication every day, it was like that so it was a lot of fun not only to be able to play with him, but also get to know him as a person and as a human being,” said Bunbury. “He’s just one of the best guys. He wants the best for his teammates and he understands the game extremely well, so it was amazing to play with him and get to know him.”
The bonds that Tierney fostered with teammates past and present are something that will always remain near and dear to his heart. He inevitably knew that his soccer career would come to an end one day, but those friendships will last a lifetime.
“Most of my favorite moments are private,” Tierney said with a smile. “It’s those moments you spend with your teammates after wins, on the road, all the locker room banter – that’s really the stuff you miss the most.”
His self-proclaimed “little brother” had the same smile and eerily similar response when asked about his best memory with Tierney.
“Favorite memory off the field, that’s between us,” chuckled Rowe. “On the field, we’ve had many times where we’ve connected for goals and we kind of look at each other in the eyes and are like, this is awesome. We kind of have that really cool moment. For me, it was him scoring at the 2014 final in LA, because I know what it meant to him. I’ve never seen him so excited. He had the perfect knee slide.”
Whether it was being a mentor to his teammates, scoring a game-winning goal, or helping to elevate those around him to be the best versions of themselves, Tierney’s presence on and off the field brought something extra to the club throughout the past 11 years.
“He was a constant professional, a true leader, but he did it in his own way,” said Twellman. “He was very quiet about it, but make no mistake, he was extremely competitive. Chris Tierney was a guy you wanted in the locker room, on the field, every single time you played for the New England Revolution.”
Tierney embodies what being a New England Revolution player is all about, and no matter where life takes him next, the memories and bonds he has created with teammates, staff and friends – all of whom became family – will live on forever.