The long-time USA international right back will end his playing days and transition into a different role.USA international and Hannover 96 captain Steve Cherundolo announced his retirement Wednesday. He'll stay on with the Bundesliga outfit and assume some of the coaching duties with the U-23 team.
"Ideally, I started my career here and it would make sense to finish it here," Cherundolo told Goal USA in October 2013 when asked whether he would retire at Hannover or move to another club before finishing his career.
The 35-year-old made the move to Hannover in 1999 when the club played in the 2.Bundesliga and helped it to promotion in the 2001-02 season. Cherundolo has never played for a different club, earning him the nickname "Mayor of Hannover".
For a player whose career was marked by consistency, he was frustratingly hampered by injuries recently. Knee issues kept him out of all but two Hannover matches this season, and he advised the club to buy a fullback in the winter transfer window as a replacement.
Asked about working back from injuries, Cherundolo told Goal in October 2013: "[It's] frustrating at times, boring at times and it's just a lot of tedious work that you have to do on a daily basis. Positive results coming out of rehab training are very little and usually you won't see them on a daily basis."
His last appearance with the national team was an October 2012 win against Guatemala in the penultimate round of World Cup qualification. His retirement ends any chance Cherundolo will make a fourth World Cup appearance, though the USA's lack of depth at right back means he would've been in Jurgen Klinsmann's plans were he healthy. He played every minute for the U.S. at the 2010 World Cup.
"I have to finish my career as professional today because of several knee injuries in the last 15 months," Cherundolo said at a news conference Wednesday. "In 1999, I came to know the club Hannover 96. It's made incredibly big steps forward in football and financially but hasn't lost his heart and soul, its fans, at the same time.
"It's not easy if you have your last day as professional, but I am happy that I may keep working for the club in a different role. I will try to give everything back that I learned as a professional footballer and as human at Hannover 96. Thank you very much."
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