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Amherst native Robbie Russell retires from soccer, heads back to school

  • Real Salt Lake defender Robbie Russell (3) slide tackles Seattle Sounders midfielder Alvaro Fernandez (15) during the first half of their playoff MLS soccer match, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)

    Real Salt Lake defender Robbie Russell (3) slide tackles Seattle Sounders midfielder Alvaro Fernandez (15) during the first half of their playoff MLS soccer match, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Real Salt Lake players mob Robbie Russell as they celebrate after Russell made a penalty kick to give Real Salt Lake a win over the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Cup championship soccer match, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

    Real Salt Lake players mob Robbie Russell as they celebrate after Russell made a penalty kick to give Real Salt Lake a win over the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Cup championship soccer match, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Real Salt Lake defender Robbie Russell (3) slide tackles Seattle Sounders midfielder Alvaro Fernandez (15) during the first half of their playoff MLS soccer match, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)
  • Real Salt Lake players mob Robbie Russell as they celebrate after Russell made a penalty kick to give Real Salt Lake a win over the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Cup championship soccer match, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

WASHINGTON (AP) — D.C. United defender and Amherst native Robbie Russell has retired after a 13-year career in Major League Soccer and in Europe, and will prepare for medical school at Georgetown University.

The 33-year-old Russell scored one goal in 20 appearances with United, which announced his plans Wednesday.

“It’s always a tough decision for me and my family, but it was made easier, by the fact that it fit so well with what I wanted for me and my family,” Russell said. “I’m excited about what I’ll be doing next.”

Russell with study at Georgetown University for 18 months after which he’ll take the Medical College Admission Test and begin applying to medical schools.

He played in 98 games over six seasons in MLS and was a member of the 2009 league champions, Real Salt Lake. He scored the game-winning goal in the shootout to win the MLS cup that season as RSL defeated a Los Angeles Galaxy squad that included David Beckham, who announced his retirement plans Thursday, and Landon Donovan.

Russell also played professionally in Iceland, Norway and Denmark. He never dressed for the U.S. National team, but participated in camp with Team USA on multiple occasions.

“It’s been my life for the last 13 years,” said Russell, who graduated from Amherst Regional High School and attended Duke University. “I’ve had some really amazing times and some great memories. It’s overwhelming how much I got to do through soccer.”

Gazette staff writer Matt Vautour contributed to this report.

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