Hannover's United States defender Steve Cherundolo said Wednesday he is ending his career immediately because of persistent knee problems.
"Due to several knee injuries in the past 15 months I am ending my career as a professional footballer today," Cherundolo said during a news conference. "Since I started playing with Hannover in 1999 the club has made incredible progress. I thank the fans.
He will remain with the club as assistant coach for Hannover's under-23 team.
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.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann paid tribute to Cherundolo on Twitter.
Congrats to #USMNT Steve Cherundolo on an amazing career. A true professional and a great role model for our future players. Viel Glück!!— Jürgen Klinsmann (@J_Klinsmann) March 19, 2014
The 35-year-old full-back is a veteran of three World Cups and played every minute of the United States’ four games in South Africa in 2010. He has spent all of his professional career in Germany with Hannover, having played college soccer at the University of Portland.
His last appearance for the national team came in a 3-1 World Cup qualifying win vs. Guatemala in October 2012.