Whitecaps confirm Lee retirement at season's end

The three-time World Cup veteran with South Korea will play his final professional game Saturday when Vancouver hosts the Colorado Rapids.
The Vancouver Whitecaps on Tuesday made official a long-presumed development, announcing that veteran right back Young-Pyo Lee will retire at season's end.

The 36-year-old, who represented South Korea at three World Cups, will play his final professional game Saturday when the Whitecaps host their season finale against the Colorado Rapids. Vancouver was eliminated from playoff contention with a loss at Colorado last weekend.

"It will be the most memorable game in my life," Lee said in a press release. "I'm a happy guy. I learned so many things throughout my career, much more than I had expected when I was young. It is a great time to finish with a great team and great people."

It had been widely assumed that the 2013 campaign would be Lee's last after the player flirted with retirement this past offseason. Following stints with such decorated European clubs as PSV Eindhoven, Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund, Lee joined the Whitecaps ahead of the 2012 season. After starting 33 of 34 matches last year, he has appeared in 31 league games this season.

“He’ll go down as a really significant player in the club’s history,” Whitecaps manager Martin Rennie said. “I think that he helped our team become more professional, he helped players learn more about what it means to succeed at this level, and he’s just a really positive role model on and off the field. He is a legend, and I think not just because how well he’s done as a player throughout the world but for the kind of person that he is.”

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