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By ESPN Staff

Phoenix's veteran striker Coveny retires

Veteran Wellington Phoenix striker Vaughan Coveny has announced his retirement from football after an illustrious 17-year career.

The 37-year-old said his decision had been a tough one to make and admitted it was an emotional moment when he told his team-mates.

"To be honest it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do," Coveny said

"To stand in front of such a special group of players and coaches and say thanks to everyone and to tell them I was ending my career was very emotional.

"I didn't expect to get so teary-eyed, frankly. But I think its a good thing to show your emotions and all the guys had tears in their eyes when we got together, shook hands and they wished me the best.

"That was a marvellous tribute, to have my fellow players pay me such respect. I'm hugely thankful for that."

Coveny remains New Zealand's all-time leading goalscorer, knocking in 30 goals from 75 matches for the All Whites.

While he winds up his professional playing career with the Phoenix in his hometown of Wellington, Coveny also had a long and successful career in Australia.

He played in the old National Soccer League with the Melbourne Knights and the Wollongong Wolves before beginning an 11-year stint with South Melbourne in the NSL and Victorian Premier League.

It was while he was with South Melbourne that he got the call to join the Newcastle Jets in the Hyundai A-League where he made 31 appearances and scored nine goals before joining Wellington in 2007.

Coveny will be in the Phoenix squad for the team's must-win clash against Adelaide on Sunday at Westpac Stadium.

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