- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 3, 2010

FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (AP) - The concussion that brought a premature end to Taylor Twellman’s career came while he did what he did best.

Score goals.

Two years after being punched in the face in a collision with Los Angeles goalkeeper Steve Cronin while heading in a shot for the New England Revolution, Twellman announced Wednesday he was retiring because of the effects of the concussion.

After eight seasons and 101 goals, sixth most in MLS history, the 30-year-old St. Louis native said he had no option but to retire.

“It’s unfortunate to lose your career to an injury. It’s not a choice,” the five-time MLS all-star and former MVP said. “When you’re told that if you want to live your life and be healthy then soccer needs to stop, the decision’s made for me.”

Twellman played the rest of the season after being hurt on Aug. 30, 2008, in a 2-2 tie with the Galaxy but missed the playoffs. He played his final game on June 7, 2009, scoring twice in a 4-0 win over New York that put him over the 100-goal mark. That was his second game of the season _ and the last one of his career _ as he sat out with whiplash and concussive symptoms.

He didn’t play in 2010.

“I sure as hell didn’t know New York last year was going to be my last game,” Twellman said. “The hardest part about this injury is I can do zero about it and that is the most humbling thing that has ever happened to me.”

Twellman, the second pick of the 2002 draft out of Maryland, had a better goals-per-game average than any of the five players who had more total goals. His 101 goals came in 173 games.

The top five goal scorers in MLS history are Jaime Moreno with 133 in 340 games, Jeff Cunningham (132 in 344), Ante Razov (114 in 262), Jason Kreis (108 in 305) and Landon Donovan (103 in 232).

“We had a great group, but (Twellman) was the spearhead of getting our goals,” Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. “The biggest compliment I can pay him is, in all my time in MLS, he has been the purest and best goal scorer in the league, without a doubt.”

Twellman won the league MVP award in 2005 when he was second in MLS with six winning goals. He played in four MLS Cup games for the league championship but the Revolution lost them all.

As a rookie, he was runner-up for the league MVP award and was the first scoring champion in team history with 52 points on 23 goals and six assists.

“MLS was his destiny,” said Revolution investor-operator Jonathan Kraft, who called Twellman “not only … the poster child of the Revolution but the poster child of the league.”

In 30 appearances with the U.S. national team, Twellman scored six goals.

He got his introduction to soccer from his father, Tim, who played in the North American Soccer League and Major Indoor Soccer League in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

“I was born to do it and i got paid to do it,” Taylor Twellman said, “and I had fun.”

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