Orange County SC's Richard Chaplow is set to make his 400th professional appearance and 50th for Orange County this Saturday. | Photo courtesy Steven Christy / OKC Energy FC
IRVINE, Calif. – Orange County SC midfielder Richard Chaplow announced on Tuesday he will retire following the conclusion of the 2018 season, with the English veteran set to make his 400th professional appearance in the club’s game this Saturday against Seattle Sounders FC 2.
Chaplow’s 15-year career saw him compete at the highest level in his native England when he played for West Bromwich Albion and Southampton FC in the Premier League. The 32-year-old will be honored prior to the current USL Western Conference leader’s regular season home finale against Seattle for reaching the appearances milestone as the club looks to continue its drive toward USL Cup this postseason.
“I’m delighted to have made 400 professional appearances,” said Chaplow. “It’s a target I’ve had in my sights all season, and really happy I’ve done it. But all good things must come to end, and it’s also on this note that I announce that this season will be my last. It’s been difficult to say the least, coming to terms with my decision, but I feel it’s the right time. I’m still healthy and have a long life in-front of me. I want to enjoy my days and be as pain free as possible.
“It’s been incredible, from start to finish. To have played in the Premier League against the world’s elite was fairytale stuff, and winning promotions with my teammates are moments I’ll never ever forget. I now look forward to taking these experiences and applying the knowledge I have from my time working under some of world’s best coaches, to try and influence the next crop of players as they work to be the best they can be.”
Chaplow’s commitment to Orange County goes far beyond the pitch, having served as a dedicated mentor to his younger teammates and aspiring players in the community—sharing his experiences, and being a leader both vocally in the clubhouse and by example on the pitch.
“Richard’s credentials and resume speak for themselves,” said Orange County Head Coach Braeden Cloutier. “He’s had a fantastic career, and I’m privileged to have been part of it. What Richard has brought to Orange County these past three seasons goes farther than his performances on the field. The professionalism that he has brought to training and in the locker-room has been second to none. He’s a great leader and ambassador to the team, club and community. Richard will be missed on the field next season, but I’m sure one way or another he will still be around and part of the organization in some capacity. I want to personally thank Richard for his support, dedication and being the player and person that he is.”
Chaplow began his career with Burnley FC in 2003 when he was only 18. After scoring seven goals in 66 appearances in the Championship, he was then signed by Premier League club West Bromwich Albion in 2005. Chaplow made 44 appearances for the Baggies before being loaned by the club to Southampton FC. He would move to Championship’s Preston North End FC, making 68 appearances and contributing eight goals, before returning to the Premier League with Southampton. Chaplow helped propel the Saints on to victory in 2010 and would play alongside top players such as Adam Lallana (Liverpool FC), Morgan Schneiderlin, Luke Shaw (Manchester United FC), and Gareth Bale (Real Madrid FC) during his time at the club.
“Richard’s talent, influence and leadership were evident from the first minute when he put on an Orange County jersey back in 2016,” said General Manager & EVP Oliver Wyss. “I am sure our fans will come out and support Richard in this special game, as we are pushing for a Western Conference and USL Championship. It’s been a privilege to have Richard and his family be part of our club, and his legacy will continue to impact our community for years to come.”
In 2015, Chaplow went to play for Ipswich Town FC in the Championship before heading to Doncaster Rovers FC in League One. It was amidst the 2016 season when a determined Orange County SC, then looking to build on its momentum toward returning to the USL Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive year, would acquire the driven Chaplow. He would contribute two assists in the crucial season finale against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, helping Orange County SC take victory and earn the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Saturday’s game will also mark Chaplow’s 50th USL appearances for Orange County, with the midfielder having recorded three goals and four assists in his time at the club. Orange County is currently one points ahead of Phoenix Rising FC for first place in the Western Conference entering the final two weeks of the regular season.