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In a shock announcement, the 31-year-old midfielder will step away from all forms of the game to concentrate on his studies after this season

Wellington Phoenix and New Zealand midfielder Tim Brown has announced he will retire from all forms of the game at the end of the 2011-12 A-League season.

The 31-year-old will retire to instead concentrate on his studies, having been offered the opportunity to complete a Masters degree in management at either the London School of Economics or Cambridge University.

Brown has been a key midfielder for both club and country, having scored 22 goals in 106 appearances for the Phoenix since joining the club from the Newcastle Jets in 2007.

Born in England, he has featured 29 times for New Zealand and was in the All Whites' squad for the 2010 World Cup, though he failed to make an appearance after undergoing shoulder surgery shortly before the tournament began.

"It was an emotional decision to make, but an exciting one for me," Brown said of his impending retirement in a statement.

"The opportunity to continue my studies at either of those places is fantastic.

"It was tough making the decision to leave what has been a dream job but I believe it is the right time for me having just turned 31."

Brown was unwilling to focus much on his career, instead wanting to focus on the Phoenix's semi-final clash with Sydney FC on Friday.

"I can dwell on the past later but at the moment it is all about the present," Brown said.

"When you are going to the playoffs, as we are on Friday, you know that each game is potentially your last.

"I've felt all along that we could do something special this season and while I don't want to believe in fairy tales it would be great to go on and win something with this group of players.

"What a great way to finish that would be.  That's why I didn't want to make a fuss about retiring. You can't get too emotional when there is an important game to be played on Friday."

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