MATHEW WAGNER - Wednesday, March 19, 2014
After 15 years as a professional soccer player, Steve Cherundolo is hanging up his boots.
Cherundolo and club president Martin Kind announced his retirement from the sport at press conference in Hannover today, citing his health. The club also announced the 35-year-old American will become co-coach of Hannover's under-23 team.
Nicknamed "the Mayor of Hannover," Cherundolo played his entire professional career with Hannover, making 415 appearances for die Roten across all competitions - including a team-record 302 Bundesliga appearances.
The San Diego native joined Hannover when the club was still in the 2.Bundesliga and made his debut in a 1-0 victory at Uerdingen on Feb. 21, 1999. He then got to experience promotion into the Bundesliga at the end of the 2001-2002 season and stayed with the club long enough to participate in the Europa League for two seasons (2011-2012 and 2012-2013), which included a quarterfinal run during the 2011-2012 season.
He held the captain's armband for the last three-and-a-half seasons playing in the capital of Lower Saxony. Throughout his time at Hannover, Cherundolo tallied seven goals and 19 assists.
Cherundolo also had a stellar international career, earning 87 international caps for the Untied States following his debut in 1999. Named to three World Cup rosters, the former University of Portland Pilot started at right back for the U.S. in the last two (Germany in 2006 and South Africa in 2010). The 5-foot-6 fullback even played in a roll in qualifying for this cycle, with his last appearance with the U.S. coming in a win over Guatemala on Oct. 16, 2012, that sealed the team's advancement into the CONCACAF Hexagonal round.
That turned out to the last time Cherundolo represent his country, as the American fullback has suffered with knee problems the past 14 months and made only two appearances for die Roten this season - his last when he played 82 minutes in a 2-1 loss to Freiburg on Dec. 21.
While being a co-coach for the club's U23 team, which plays in the Regionalliga Nord, Cherundolo will also attempt to get his coaching license.