Robbie and Sonny
Photo: Roblyn Hymes/VOA

Ghana-born Robbie Russell says he greatly enjoyed his recent visit to our Voice of America headquarters.

The 33-year-old Russell, who announced his retirement from pro soccer last month, brought with him several of the club jerseys he wore proudly all over the world.

Russell played as a defender for clubs in Iceland, Norway and Denmark, as well as in the United States, where he suited up for Real Salt Lake and D.C. United in Major League Soccer.

“I am so happy for what I was given,” says Russell, looking back on his 12-year professional career, “and so happy for what I

Robbie Russell celebrates his winning kick in the 2009 MLS championship match in Seattle, Washington.
Photo: AP


One of his biggest accomplishments was lifting the MLS Cup trophy in 2009, when he scored the game-winning penalty kick for Real Salt Lake against David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Robbie celebrates a win over the Columbus Crew after a MLS match.
Photo: AP

“I still have goose bumps on my arms,” says Russell, reflecting on the kick that gave Real Salt Lake its first and only MLS championship.

Robbie now has his sights set on professional accomplishments off the pitch.

He began classes this week in Georgetown University’s Post-baccalaureate Pre-Medical Certificate Program.

Russell talked with me about the 18-month program, which leads to medical school, in this video interview.

In the interview, Robbie Russell says there’s a lot of hope surrounding Major League Soccer, which was founded in 1993 as part of the USA’s successful bid to host the 1994 World Cup.

Russell adds he hasn’t ruled out returning to MLS as a doctor. “If there was any way I could come back and rejoin the game, I think that would be amazing,” says Robbie. “But there’s a long time between now and then (becoming a M.D.). And so I’m going to take it one step at a time. But anything I could ever give back to this game would be fantastic.”