USMNT: Steve Cherundolo Retires as Treasure of His Generation and Pioneer

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2014

PHILADELPHIA, PA- AUGUST 10: Steve Cherundolo #6 of the United States plays the ball during the game against Mexico at Lincoln Financial Field on August 10, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

On Wednesday, fans of the United States men's national team were forced to honor the career of Steve Cherundolo, who at 35 announced his retirement from playing, as per NBC's ProSoccerTalk. 

Cherundolo was one of the most respected players of his generation and he was also a pioneer of sorts by playing abroad. 

The right-back was also a model of consistency at the position for the United States in a decade that saw plenty of ups and downs for the Yanks. 

Up until last season, Cherundolo was slotted in by many to be the starting right-back in Brazil for the Yanks, but injuries cut his final World Cup dream, and his career, short. 

Ever since the man dubbed the "Mayor of Hannover" caught the injury bug, his position on the national team has seen plenty of potential heirs to his throne. 

The replacement for the three-time World Cup veteran in 2013 was Brad Evans, but Geoff Cameron, Michael Parkhurst and Timmy Chandler could all feature in the back line in Brazil. 

With the departure of Cherundolo from the national team, the fans of the United States were finally able to realize just how valuable he was on the right flank. 

The 35-year-old, who played for Hannover since 1999, made 87 appearances for the United States, 83 of which were starts. 

While he only recorded two goals and 10 assists during his international career, Cherundolo made an impact away from the stat sheet as he always brought a stellar sense of professionalism to the pitch.

Most of the American fanbase were hoping for the return of Cherundolo for Brazil because of how shaky the play at right-back has been lately, but that was not to be for the player who was underappreciated throughout his playing career. 

Cherundolo also set the tone at the club level for Americans abroad as he played in 302 Bundesliga games for Hannover.

Nowadays, seeing an American player suit up for a European club is a common sight, but back in 1999 when Cherundolo began his professional career in Germany, he was one of the few players who took the risk of moving overseas for first-team football. 

Cherundolo will not leave the club that he represented for such a long time as he will join up with the coaching staff of the under-23 team. 

If he is as good a coach as he was a player, do not be shocked to see Cherundolo manning the sidelines for the United States in the distant future. 

Before we spend time speculating on what should be a long coaching career for Cherundolo, we should look back and realize just how important he was to the development of the game in the United States. 

As a pioneer overseas and a steady hand for the national team, Cherundolo was everything you could ask for in a player at both the club and international levels.


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