Matthias Goossen is stepping away from football at the very peak of his career.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers all-star centre – who was scheduled to become a free agent in two weeks – announced his retirement from the game on Tuesday.
Goossen, who is pursuing another career opportunity away from football, declined media interview requests, preferring instead to issue a statement:
“After much prayer and consideration, I have decided to end my football career. Firstly, I want to thank my family, and especially my wife, for being a constant source of support over the course of my football career. I also want to thank my teammates who made my five years of playing professional football a true blessing, and am especially thankful for the brotherhood of offensive linemen who made it a privilege every day to come into work. I want to thank Coach O’Shea and coach Marty Costello for being two of the best coaches I have ever had. The Blue Bombers organization has been great to me over these past 5 years, and I am so grateful to have played for a team that does so much for its players and community. Lastly, I want to thank the people of Winnipeg. I have met so many great people here and can say that this city has felt like home over my 5 seasons wearing the blue and gold.”
Goossen had been an integral component in the Bombers rebuild of their offensive line since the club selected him second overall in the 2014 Canadian Football League Draft. He worked under veteran Dominic Picard early in his career before assuming the centre chores full-time in 2016. Goossen, still just 26, appeared in 87 regular season games for the Bombers, with 64 starts, and was immensely respected in the locker room for his work ethic and the intelligence and toughness he brought to his position, all while playing a prominent role in the community.
He was a CFL Players Association All-Star in 2017 and named to the CFL All-Star Team in 2018. Goossen was also awarded with the team’s Ed Kotowich Good Guy Award in 2016 and 2018 for his community work and dedication to the squad.
Excited for my guy!! Wish him all the best!! Stay blessed!! 🙏🏾 https://t.co/nxbomEozR6
— Stanley Bryant Jr. (@MyHumble_Self) January 29, 2019
One of the best professionals I have ever worked with. I know Matthias will be successful going forward. He will be missed in the blitz meeting! https://t.co/1Kls1aZFXm
— Paul LaPolice (@PaulLaPolice) January 29, 2019
Bombers management had been made aware Goossen was contemplating retirement earlier this offseason, all of which made the recent re-signing of Michael Couture so pivotal. Couture had been seen as a possible replacement for Goossen should the veteran have exited in free agency.
Said Bombers GM Kyle Walters, in a statement:
“First off, we would sincerely like to thank Matthias for his work and dedication to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. From the moment we drafted him in 2014, Matthias has shown tremendous professionalism both on and off the field.
“His work in the community is something we are very proud of, and he represented the Blue Bombers the right way. As far as our roster is concerned, Matthias was gracious enough to inform us of this decision quite some time ago, so we have been working accordingly. He is a fantastic young man, and we wish him all the best moving forward.”
In addition to Couture, the Bombers have re-signed import tackles Stanley Bryant and Jermarcus Hardrick this offseason and already have left guard Pat Neufeld under contract. The fifth member of last year’s offensive line – right guard Sukh Chungh – is inching closer to free agency next month.
The Bombers also have under contract Canadian prospects Geoff Gray, Cody Speller, Ben Koczwara and Matthew Ouellet De Carlo – the latter two both 2018 draft picks – as well as import O-linemen Manase Foketi and Chauncey Briggs.
Worth noting is that the Bombers also have nine picks in this spring’s CFL Draft, including two first-round selections, fourth and fifth overall.