One of the mainstays for the United States national team and the Bundesliga's Hannover 96 over the past 15 years, Steven Cherundolo, announced his retirement on Wednesday.
U.S. and Hannover 96 defender Steve Cherundolo will make his retirement from the sport official in a press conference set for Wednesday, multiple sources have told ESPN.
Cherundolo, who has won 87 caps for the U.S. men’s national team since making his debut vs. Jamaica in 1999, had been sidelined for much of the 2013-14 season following multiple knee surgeries. A comeback in December featured just two appearances.
Brian Sciaretta of the New York Times had more on Cherundolo's future:
Cherundolo and Martin Kind, the sporting director of Hannover 96 spoke about his retirement (via Bundesliga Live):
In total, he started 83 games for the United States, scoring two goals.
Cherundolo appeared in three World Cups for the United States, putting him in rare company for the country, as Paul Carr of ESPN notes:
He also appeared in three Gold Cups, the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup and was the United States' starter at right-back in the past two World Cups.
ESPN's Taylor Twellman tweeted the following upon hearing the news:
Cherundolo joined Hannover 96 in 1999 and spent his entire career with the club, making him the longest-tenured player in the team's history, with 302 total appearances. He certainly earned his nickname as the "Mayor of Hannover."
Sadly, he was simply never able to recover from his multiple knee injuries this season. Cherundolo was hoping to make it four World Cups in Brazil this summer, as he told USSoccer.com in October:
Yes, I think it should be the goal of every player in the pool. Anybody who has ever been to a World Cup knows how special it is, how awesome it is. If that’s something I have a chance to participate in, if I can help the team and the coaching staff deems me that guy who can help either on the field or off the field then I would love to go to Brazil. It’s definitely a goal of mine and if I can stay healthy it’s something I can achieve as well.
It remains to be seen if a healthy Cherundolo would have cracked the squad, though the United States remains unsettled at right back.
Given his long career in the game, it wouldn't be surprising to see Cherundolo continue to stay involved in soccer in some facet, perhaps with the United States national team or Hannover 96. His experience will certainly be missed on both the club and country level.
He certainly left behind a strong legacy with both, and should serve as inspiration to future generations of United States defenders.