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Drivers Wanted: Mike Ammann



Mike Ammann was a starting goalkeeper in MLS for Kansas City, New York and D.C. United before surgery on his elbows went terribly wrong and ended his career after the 2001 season. This weekend, Ammann will unofficially represent United again -- in the driver's seat of a turbo diesel Volkswagen Jetta at the TDI Cup, a segment of the Sports Car Club of America racing series. Ammann, 38, is a guest driver and will reach speeds up to 136 mph on the road course.

"My goal is to not come in last," he told the Insider while on his 65-mph drive to New Jersey Motorsports Park for qualifying races Friday and official competition Saturday and Sunday.

The engine is the same as the one used in a standard Jetta, but the suspension, brakes, tires and seat have been enhanced for racing purposes. The car that Ammann will drive has DCU and MLS logos. (VW is in its second year as United's presenting partner and a league sponsor.)

Ammann remained in the Washington area upon retirement from soccer, settling with his family in Loudoun County, Va., and is a sales executive for Georgetown-based ViON Corporation, an IT solutions company that sponsors the TDI Cup. Although he had never raced before last week at Virginia International Speedway, Ammann has ties to the sport through his wife's family, which included car owners and drivers.

His connection to soccer these days is limited to assistant coaching for his son's under-14 team -- Arie (named after two-time Indy winner Arie Luyendyk) splits time between goalkeeper and forward, but, Mike said, his future is in goal. He remains in regular contact with DCU captain Jaime Moreno and attended a game at RFK for the first time this season when United played Seattle in the U.S. Open Cup final last week.

For much more on Ammann's transition, his medical malpractice lawsuit and observations of the woeful Red Bulls, read Michael Lewis's story from this summer.

By Steve Goff  |  September 10, 2009; 9:55 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: USSF Opinion on Dallas Red Card


Ammann also has some less-than-glowing comments about DCU management during his time here in that article.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | September 10, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm puzzled. As much as Ammann fought for his job and outspoken as he is, why did he allow a surgeon, who had never performed that surgical procedure before, to operate on him?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 10, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Mike gives a good clinic, but he is, um, DIRECT. Don't ask him what he thinks if you don't want to know. Sounds like he's doing well, and I wish him continued success.

Posted by: JkR- | September 10, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

"I have a great place," he said. "my wife's happy. My kids are happy. I can't complain."
Uh, you just spent the entire interview complaining. I pictured veins popping out of his neck. Bitter?

Posted by: delantero | September 11, 2009 2:59 AM | Report abuse

Don't let Chest or fischy get anywhere near that car.

Posted by: joedoc1 | September 11, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: DadRyan | September 11, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I find it odd that Mike stills lives in the area, If I remember correctly he did not want to leave the metrostars because he had everything in NY or NJ. I assumed that once he was done with UNITED he would go back, but it looks like he has stayed in the area. I remember him threatening to retire before he steped foot in DC.

Posted by: Norteno4life | September 11, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: MBUSA | September 11, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Mike was and still is a good man. I always appreciated his directness . . . even when the parents didn't.

Best Wishes!

Posted by: carnack | September 11, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Mike was and still is a good man. I always appreciated his directness . . . even when the parents didn't.

Best Wishes!

Posted by: carnack | September 11, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

@MBUSA: A turbo diesel Jetta. A former German co-worker always rented a turbo diesel Jetta for driving on the autobahn during his trips to Germany.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 11, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

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