The United States is well known for the abundance of top goalkeeping talent that it produces, and Major League Soccer Veteran Tally Hall can certainly consider himself among the best.
After a total of eight seasons spent in the top flight, Hall decided to call time on his career midway through the 2016 season, aged just 31, having struggled to get back to his best following surgery on a serious knee injury. Despite retiring at what is considered a young age for a goalkeeper, Hall departed the game with his head held high, having spent much of his career at the top of the soccer ladder.
Hall’s journey into soccer began in the early 2000s, when he moved from Washington to California to enrol at the San Diego State University. Soon enough, the youngster was well known around the campus as the star of the San Diego Star Aztecs, having made a name for himself as a goalkeeper with the potential to go far.
Throughout his college years, Hall picked up a whole host of awards. In both 2003 and 2004 he was named among the All-American team, composed of the very best amateur players around. Amazingly, in his final year he even managed maintain his starting spot with the Aztecs while playing for Boulder Rapids Reserves (now known as the Colorado Rapids Under 23s) in the USL Premier Development League.
By that stage, it was obvious that Hall would make it as a professional footballer, and his chance to move up the ladder came when he was awarded a place in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. However, despite being drafted by league heavyweights LA Galaxy, Hall decided to pass up the opportunity and move to Denmark, where he joined Danish Superliga side Esbjerg fB.
However, his time with the European club didn’t quite go as planned, as he failed to make a single appearance throughout his two year stay. Despite the setback, Hall soon got his career back on track, returning to America to join Houston Dynamo midway through the 2009 campaign.
Hall was brought in as backup for the hugely experienced Pat Onstad, but was eventually handed the starting spot ahead of the 2011 campaign. Hall’s impact was huge, as he helped the club to go all the way to the MLS Cup final, which earned him a place in the 2011 All-Star squad. Incredibly, Houston Dynamo reached the MLS Cup once again in the 2012 season, but were held back by a dominant LA Galaxy side in both years.
The talented shot-stopper continued to dominate the Dynamo net for another two years, before a serious knee injury sidelined for him a number of months, which saw him miss the end of the 2014. With the injury likely to keep him out for some time, the club agreed to sell him to expansion side Orlando City SC.
Despite spending his first couple of months at the club on the sidelines, Hall recovered in time to feature in the
majority of Orlando’s games in their inaugural 2015 season, helping them to finish in a modest 7th place. However, another knee injury at the end of the campaign saw the club make the shock decision to part ways with their goalkeeper.
From there he returned home to Washington to join D.C. United. However, he failed to break into the team and, within six months, he had decided to call time on his soccer career, eventually retiring in July 2016.
However, Hall’s incredible story doesn’t end there – there was more to his decision than a lack of playing time. The veteran goalkeeper had a burning desire to help people, which he felt that he wasn’t achieving through the sport.
Upon exiting soccer, Hall began to train to become a police officer and has since been sworn in by the Orlando Police Department. The pay packet might not compare, but according to Hall, the happiness that he gets from the job outweighs all of the perks that came with being a professional soccer player.