Oldest MLS Player Timeline
|One of the very first posts I ever made on this blog was the Youngest MLS Player Timeline. Now, it's time to look at the other side of the equation. Who has held the record for the oldest MLS player of all time at each point in the league's history, and when has it been broken?|
This is not the same as the lists of the Oldest MLS Players or the Oldest MLS Debuts. Only regular season games are counted.
MLS Oldest Player Record Holders
The age is only for the date that it was set. Days refers to the number of days the player held the record.
1) Thor Lee, DC United - 30.84 years old
Ex-indoor player famously waived after only two games in the inaugural season. Also the only American-born player to hold this record. Michael Emenalo of the San Jose Clash was the only other over-30 player in the opening game. Victor Mella was the youngest player that day.
2) Carlos Valderrama, Tampa Bay Mutiny - 34.61
No explanation necessary. Who would've thought he would play until 2002? Anyway, one week after the debut of MLS, he stepped onto the field and took the record. He would only hold it for a month, however...
3) Chris Woods, Colorado Rapids - 36.49
The former England goalkeeper who was the backup to Peter Shilton at the 1990 World Cup, and part of a disastrous opening season for the Colorado Rapids who finished dead last in the standings. I guess you could say they were the first record holders of the 'worst team ever' title.
4) Hugo Sanchez, Dallas Burn - 37.85
The Mexican legend took the field a week after Woods, scoring on his debut. It's still the fourth oldest debut in league history, and he held the title of oldest player until 1998.
5) Thomas Ravelli, Tampa Bay Mutiny - 38.60
The legendary Swedish goalkeeper and third oldest MLS debut.
6) Walter Zenga, New England Revolution - 39.13
On June 13th, 1999, he tied Ravelli exactly at 14,290 days before passing him a week later. It's also the first time on this list that the new record wasn't set with a debut. Zenga played in 1997, then came back as a player coach in 1999 and set the record midway through the year.
7) Lothar Matthaus, Metrostars - 39.39
He set the record on the first game back from his little summer vacation. I hate to see his name mentioned in any MLS record discussion, but I will admit I'm enjoying the way his coaching career has fallen apart everywhere he's gone.
8) Carlos Valderrama, Tampa Bay Mutiny - 39.59
This was the first game of the 2001 season. Five years later, El Pibe reclaims the record. This time, he held it for over three years.
9) Preki, Kansas City Wizards - 41.15
This was his first game of the 2004 season after missing the first half with an injury. He would only play one more regular season game before being shut down. It was all downhill for his playing career after the second MVP season in 2003, as his final season in 2005 was pretty uneventful.
We're coming up on the five year anniversary of this record being set.
Currently, Preki holds the record for oldest MLS player at 42.31 years. As of this past weekend, Pat Onstad was 41.57 years old. If Onstad is still playing next year, he'll break the record sometime next May. Likely date? Saturday, May 8th, 2010.
10) Pat Onstad, Houston Dynamo - 42.32
It turns out that date was right on target. Unless Kasey Keller keeps playing, then this reign could last as long as Preki's or even longer.