Republic FC’s J.J. Koval Retires to Pursue Dentistry

USL

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

Sacramento Republic FC and former San Jose Earthquakes midfielder J.J. Koval has announced his retirement from professional soccer to pursue dentistry. The player confirmed his future plans on Twitter.

Koval was the ninth pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and selected by the San Jose Earthquakes. The 24-year-old made 39 appearances with theMLS side before being loaned to the Sacramento Republic that same year. The move became permanent in 2016 and Koval played 27 games, scoring one goal along the way. The midfielder also battled injuries but appeared to be nearing match-fitness for the 2017 season.

“We are disappointed to lose JJ, but we completely respect his decision,” said Paul Buckle, Technical Director and Head Coach of the Sacramento Republic FC. “He played much of last season with an injury and still made an impact for us. We were looking forward to him coming back with full fitness this year. The being said, he was a delight to work with, he is following his heart and we wish him every success in the future.”

Koval isn’t the first player to depart a USL team for an education this year. Earlier in the summer Scott Goodwin of Louisville City FC retired and entered Harvard Medical School. The choice of education over a career in professional soccer is a reflection of the options available to players in various levels of American soccer. On the MLS level, Tally Hall, 31, left his professional career behind to sport a new badge — as an officer with the Orlando PD.

Sacramento Republic FC finished at the top of the Western Conference in 2016 but were shocked by a first round elimination at the feet of Orange County Blues FC. The Republic raised the USL Championship in their inaugural season in 2014 and look to continue their on and off-field success in the USL in 2017.


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