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Pat Onstad retires; joins D.C. staff

Goalkeeper Pat Onstad, who led the Dynamo to consecutive MLS Cup championships and served as the team’s backstop for its first five seasons, announced his retirement on Tuesday to accept a position on the coaching staff at D.C. United. 

“Pat has been an instrumental part of our club over the last five seasons,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti said. “We are very thankful for all he has done, on and off the field, to contribute to the Dynamo’s success. He will always be fondly respected and remembered by our fans and our organization. We wish him all the best in the future and congratulate him on an amazing playing career.” 

Onstad, who will turn 43 in January, has been playing professional soccer since 1987 and became the oldest player in MLS history earlier this year. Born in Vancouver, the proud Canadian came to Major League Soccer in 2003 with the San Jose Earthquakes and won Goalkeeper of the Year honors while helping San Jose to its second MLS Cup championship. Onstad was named Goalkeeper of the Year again in 2005 when San Jose won the Supporters’ Shield with the best regular-season record. 

When the club moved to Houston prior to the 2006 season, Onstad came with it and helped the Dynamo to MLS Cup championships in each of their first two years in Houston, giving him three overall MLS Cup titles. He played a key role in the Dynamo leading MLS with the fewest goals allowed in 2007, 2008, and 2009. 

“I want to thank Pat for all he’s done for the organization, the staff, and all the players, not just on our team but throughout the league,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “I know for a fact that if he shows the same dedication and determination that he did as a player all these years, he’s going to make a wonderful coach. I want to wish him luck, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank him for all he’s done for the team.” 

Three of the biggest saves of Onstad’s MLS career came on penalty kicks. In 2003, he stopped Ante Razov in the MLS Cup final, the first penalty kick save in league championship history. In 2006, he stopped Jay Heaps on the decisive penalty of a shootout in the MLS Cup final, giving the Dynamo their first title. In 2009, Onstad saved a Conor Casey penalty kick and a rebound to win the inaugural MLS Save of the Year award and key an 11-game unbeaten streak. He was part of a league-record 727-minute shutout streak in 2007 and made a key save to preserve Houston’s 2-1 win in the 2007 MLS Cup final. 

Onstad, who now holds dual citizenship in Canada and the United States, retires as the Dynamo club leader in games started (170), minutes (15,339), and every goalkeeping standard, including 50 shutouts, in all competitions. In MLS regular season history, he ranks as the league’s all-time leader in goals against average (1.12) among goalkeepers with at least 10,000 minutes and third among all qualifying goalkeepers. He also ranks fifth all-time with 64 shutouts. In career postseason games, Onstad was 10-7-4 with a 1.23 GAA. A summary of his statistics can be found below.

Internationally, Onstad made 57 appearances for Canada – a record for a Canadian goalkeeper – while playing from 1988-2010. He posted 21 shutouts, a Canadian record. He helped Canada to the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup championship and to the 2007 Gold Cup semifinals. 

Off the field, Onstad is a devoted husband to wife Becky and father to Peyton, Owen, and Abigail. He served as the Dynamo players’ representative to the MLS Players Union. He has moonlighted as an assistant coach on Canadian youth national teams and as a color analyst on broadcasts when injured. He holds a USSF A coaching license and will now begin his full-time coaching career by joining D.C. United. 

The Houston Dynamo are a Major League Soccer club that has won two MLS Cup championships in its first five seasons and represented the United States in international competition four consecutive years from 2007-10. For more information, log on to or call (713) 276-7500.  

MLS career ranks, regular season
1.12 GAA (3rd all-time, 1st among GKs with at least 10,000 mins.)64 shutouts (5th)
.580 winning percentage (7th; 2nd among those with at least 100 games)
92 wins (7th)
220 games, starts (8th among GKs)
19,806 minutes (8th among GKs)
690 saves (8th)