Mehdi Ballouchy was named NYCFC Player of the Month in May 2015.
He earned that accolade before David Villa managed to do it.
After over a decade of service in Major League Soccer, Ballouchy announced his retirement from the game today. An inaugural member of New York City FC, he filled a variety of roles in the midfield and on the wing in 23 total appearances for the team.
As he told NYCFC.com on the occasion:
As a kid, I played soccer out of pure joy, and today, that remains exactly the same. This game has taught me discipline, given me an education, and over 11 years as a professional, has offered me so much to be grateful for. As I hang up my boots, I want to thank this diverse and amazing sport for all the friends and memories it has given me. While I can't predict what the future holds, one thing remains sure: I will always play soccer and I will play with just as much joy as I did during my childhood.
Special thanks to all of my teammates and NYCFC fans - dreams do come true.
Ballouchy scored three goals and notched two assists in the famous Etihad shirt.
But I’ll always remember the time the shirt came off.
I mean, damn.
Sporting director Claudio Reyna, who oversaw Ballouchy’s selection from Vancouver in the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft, said that “Mehdi’s experience of this league, as well as his passion and enthusiasm have made him a great servant to this club throughout the past two years.”
“As one of the original squad members in our inaugural season, his place in the history of this club is assured and he’ll always be remembered fondly by all of us here as he ends his professional playing career. On top of his talents on the field, Mehdi is a humble, intelligent and thoughtful person and I’m sure everyone at the club will agree that it was a pleasure to work alongside him.”
Fare thee well, Mehdi.