Twellman's retirement 'not a choice'

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Twellman's retirement 'not a choice'

FOXBORO -- After more than a season of being unable to play for the New England Revolution, Taylor Twellman announced Wednesday he is hanging up his cleats.

Twellman, the victim of concussion issues, has suffered an unwelcome fate for an athlete -- forced to watch his teammates struggle without him.

"To come to every game knowing you're not going to play and somehow walk into that locker room and look every one of your teammates in the face -- and they'll tell you I come in loud, obnoxious -- that's the hardest thing," said an emotional Twellman, who admitted that boisterous persona lasted as far as the parking lot.

"Every single time -- and I'm tearing up now -- I'd walk right in the car and I'd cry. Because I did nothing for them and it's the one thing this team needed," said Twellman, who scored 101 goals in his MLS career. "We didn't make the playoffs this year. I'll tell you why: They needed a goal scorer. And I wasn't there."

The pain of feeling he let his teammates down will fade with retirement. Sure, Twellman would have loved a farewell tour, a season during which each stop would feature a celebration of his highly-productive career. But it is not an option; this decision is out of his hands.

"It's unfortunate to lose a career to an injury," said Twellman. "I don't have a choice, unfortunately. 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."

For two years, Twellman has undergone different treatments in hopes of curing his ailment -- acupuncture, sitting in a dark room for months, and so on. But the effort was of no avail. The phrased peppered at Twellman by his father -- "Give 'em hell; you never know when it's your last game" -- proved an omen.

"I sure as hell didn't know New York last year was going to be my last game," said Twellman.

"The hardest part about this injury is I can do zero about it," said Twellman, calling it the most humbling experience of his life. "I've done it all, I've tried it all, I'm sick and I'm injured."

Despite the career-ending injury, Twellman wouldn't change much. Maybe he'd add a few outcome-changing goals in the disappointing MLS Cup matches. The overall experience, though, he would take again and again.

"I did something that I love and I was born to do it and I got paid to do and have fun," said Twellman. "Honestly, wrap your heads around that. All I can say is, 'Are you kidding me?' "

The next step

Twellman has started a foundation to rebuild Boston's athletic fields. He will also begin offering Twellman soccer camps in 2011, providing a place for the children to build their dreams, much like he had growing up around the professional soccer fields where his dad played.

Perhaps most important will be the challenge he is taking up to help educate on the topic of head injuries in sports.

"It's the most frustrating thing to have people look at you and not know you're injured -- you don't have a cast on your arm, you're not on crutches and it's an invisible injury," said Twellman. "I hate the fact my career has ended on a brain injury -- a concussion -- but I have an opportunity to educate parents and kids on the dangers about concussions and their effects."

Twellman is one of 300 athletes to join a Boston University medical program in which he is volunteering to donate his brain to research. By following through with his promise to educate on head injuries and making a postmortem donation to science, he'll be doing to concussions what his dad always advised -- he'll give 'em hell.

Highlights: Revs earn 2-1 win over Sounders

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Highlights: Revs earn 2-1 win over Sounders

Highlights from Gillette Stadium as the New England Revolution went down early but came back to get the 2-1 victory over Seattle.

'Femi's fresh legs changed the tide' in Revs 2-1 over Sounders

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'Femi's fresh legs changed the tide' in Revs 2-1 over Sounders

Jays Heaps joins Revs Postgame Live to discuss his team being able to pull off the 2-1 win against the Seattle Sounders.

Femi's goal gives Revolution 2-1 win over Sounders

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Femi's goal gives Revolution 2-1 win over Sounders

It's the Femi show in New England these days. 

The New England Revolution played out 2-1 winners against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium thanks to a late goal by rookie substitute Femi Hollinger-Janzen. The goal was his second in the Revs' past three games.

With the match knotted at one in the 80th minute, Femi, who entered the game four minutes earlier, received a toe poke pass from Lee Nguyen about 20 yards from goal. The rookie nearly fell over when taking his first touch, but regained his balance before blasting a low strike through traffic inside Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei's left post.

Seattle, missing Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez to international duty, jumped out to an early lead in the seventh minute thanks to homegrown product Aaron Kovar. Kovar, starting for the third time in the past four games, netted his first professional goal when he corralled a poor punch from Revs keeper Bobby Shuttleworth at the top of the box, crossed up a defender as he brought the ball down to his right foot, and slotted home inside the left post.

The Revolution equalized in the 24th minute thanks to a Lee Nguyen penalty.