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By ESPN Staff

Defender played in four World Cups

CARSON, Calif. -- Los Angeles Galaxy defender Hong Myung Bo, named this year as one of soccer's 50 greatest active players, said Thursday he will retire at the conclusion of the Major League Soccer season.

Hong, 35, joined the Galaxy in 2003 after playing for South Korea in the 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

He said he plans to remain in the United States for the next three-to-four years as he pursues his master's degree and work on youth soccer development.

When he gets his degree, Hong said he will return to South Korea to become a coach, sports administrator, professor or work for a nonprofit organization.

``After a great deal of consultation with my family, I have decided to bring my career to a close at the end of the Galaxy's 2004 playoff run,'' Hong said. ``I wish to thank the entire Galaxy organization and the Korean community in Southern California for all they have done for me since I arrived here almost two years ago.''

Hong played in the MLS All-Star Game last season. He has been hampered by injuries this season, appearing in 13 of the Galaxy's 28 games and starting nine.

He was selected as a member of ``The FIFA 100,'' a list of the 50 greatest active and 75 greatest living retired players, chosen by soccer legend Pele in conjunction with the centennial of soccer's worldwide governing body.