Former Columbus Crew winger Mike Grella is retiring from soccer. Announcing on instagram earlier today that he will move on from the game due to dealing with injuries the last couple of years.
Reoccurring knee injuries starting in 2017 with the New York Red Bulls are what started his time in the medical room. Those knee problems never seemed to slow down in New York, then was traded to the Crew from Colorado where he was briefly rostered after being selected in the MLS Re-Entry Draft. Despite getting healthier — and crediting the Black & Gold’s medical staff — Grella was never quite the same player with the Crew that he was for the Red Bulls and never seemed to be completely match fit. The winger only scored once in 12 appearances for Columbus.
Grella is from Glen Cove, New York and attended Duke University for soccer and played like a man on fire during his time in college, scoring 41 goals in 80 appearances for the Blue Devils.
After college, Grella was selected in the MLS SuperDraft by Toronto FC but did not sign with the club and went to England to go on trial with Leeds United. He performed well and got a contract with the club making a handful of appearances in cups play and some in the English Championship. He then went out on loan to a few clubs in League 1 and got small playing time.
Following his time at Leeds, Grella went to Denmark with Viborg FF, making just two appearances before coming back to the United State and going to the Red Bulls.
In New York, the winger enjoyed success, winning a Supporters’ Shield and 73 appearances before knee troubled started in 2017. After rare fitness levels, Grella was waived and selected by Colorado in the Re-Entry draft and immediately traded to Columbus the same day.
For the Crew, Grella made 12 appearances, most as a substitute. His memorable moment came with a late goal against the San Jose Earthquakes with a cut inside the penalty box to the near post which was a match winner.
In total, Grella played 10 years of professional soccer after his success at Duke.