Cherundolo announces retirement after battling persistent knee woes

Steve Cherundolo Hannover (Kicker)

By FRANCO PANIZO

After battling constant knee problems for much of the past year, Steve Cherundolo is has calledl it a career.

Cherundolo, the club’s captain and longest-serving professional player, announced his retirement on Thursday.

The 35-year-old Cherundolo has been battling persistent knee problems for much of the past year, and has been limited to just 81 minutes in two Bundesliga appearances this season. The right back’s last cameo was a start in a Dec. 21 loss vs. SC Freiburg, but he has suffered setbacks since then and has not been able to return to game action.

Cherundolo will remain with the club in an official capacity.

Cherundolo joined Hannover to start his professional career in 1999 and remarkably spent all 16 of his seasons with the club. He became a leader and was nicknamed the Mayor of Hannover.

From a U.S. Men’s National Team perspective, Cherundolo would end his time as one of the most consistent American defenders to ever play. He would finish with 87 caps and two goals, and as a member of three different World Cup squads.

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What do you think of Cherundolo calling it a career? How do you look back on his time at both the club and international levels? Consider him one of the best USMNT defenders of all time?

Share your thoughts below.

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81 Responses to Cherundolo announces retirement after battling persistent knee woes

  1. Ali Dia says:

    Sucks. Legend.

    • KMac says:

      + 1million. Steve Cherundolo has been a leader, a fantastic player, and a pleasure to watch over the years as a long term USMNT fan. I was always rooting for him to make a come back and join the team in Brazil. His experience, solid defending, play forward, calm on the ball, and locker room leadership will be hard to try and replace. I know how smart he is and wish him luck into what ever he pursues beyond his time as a player.
      Thank you for all you have done, Mr. Cherundolo, and best wishes for the next phase of your career!

      • Revolution says:

        One of the best American players of all time. I always thought he was underrated, but maybe I was wrong based on what I’m seeing today.

  2. James H says:

    I have nothing but admiration for the man. I know many still had him penciled in for WC2014, but it was quickly becoming apparent that his injuries were going to say something else about that. It’s always a shame when it happens, but Steve should be very proud of his career at Hannover and for the USA. He gets the respectful slow clap… well done, Mr Cherundolo.

  3. Chuck Norris says:

    I am Chuck Norris, and I have to express my disappointment. What am I supposed to do with my Steve Cherundolo pajamas?

  4. wood chip zip says:

    Thanks you for everything ‘solo. Legend.

  5. Jay in Florida says:

    He would likely go down as one of the greatest American right backs ever. A class player and one we as fans took for granted over the years. It’ll be a long time before we have another player that possesses the qualities Cherundolo had in his prime and later in his career before the injury problems. He spent his entire career at one club, that’s unheard for an American in Europe, especially a quality league like the Bundesliga.

    • brent says:

      I 2nd that. He has to be one of the greatest American Soccer players ever, period. Yes, I am saying that as a right back. Defenders are soccer players too! Quality/Quantity wise, no player can say they played nearly as many minutes in a top league like the Bundesliga as Cherundolo and he was doing it at a very young age. He will most likely be the most capped American player in the Bundesliga forever. Well, maybe another American player will top him in 2078 or 2145. I salute the Mayor of Hannover.

  6. Jon says:

    Salute to the Mayor .

    USSF should do something for him at one of the send-off games in May/June.

    • alf says:

      Jacksonville would be my pick. They should let him play 5 minutes. Very good player with class to match.

    • natsalways says:

      An amazing idea. The man really has to be considered among the all time greats and should be treated that way. Thank you, Steve, for all the great memories!

  7. Jim says:

    It was a pleasure to watch this guy play the sport, and he did as much to bring respect to American soccer as anyone. Thanks, Dolo!

  8. JayAre says:

    Hopefully from Mayor of Hanover to coach of Hanover.

  9. Kosh says:

    Thank you, Steve. Though you do not leave on planned terms you still leave having done some amazing stuff. Thank you for everything you have done for us. It was awesome watching you do your thing. Thanks.

  10. Brain Guy says:

    A pivotal and vastly underrated player in the US soccer family. He succeeded in sustaining the kind of European career, and garnering the kind of respect in Europe, that many other Americans have only dreamed about. USSF should definitely do some to recognize him at one of the friendlies.

  11. patrick says:

    Cherundolo may go down as the most underrated player on the USMNT, EVER. Guy has been in Europe, and thriving for 12 years at a relatively large, stable Bundesliga club. Oh, and he’s captain. OUr recent question marks at outside back really shows how nice it was to pencil him in and not think about it over the last number of year.

    Mr. Mayor, you will be missed

    • Benjamin C. says:

      I think he goes on the short list of most successful USMNT players when it comes to playing in Europe. Reyna, McBride, Stewart are the names that come immediately to mind that would him company there.

    • wfrw07 says:

      In my mind he is the most underrated without question.

      Legend.

  12. El Homer Simpson says:

    I can definitely see him as a coach in Germany someday.

  13. MSNats says:

    I’ll never forget how he played James Milner off the field in WC 2010

  14. froboy says:

    Gotta be on the short list of best all time non keeper Nats in Europe

  15. MiamiAl says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Say it ain’t so!!!!!

  16. Benjamin C. says:

    Someone from MLS or the U.S. soccer federation should give him or his agent a call and get him in the coaching pipeline immediately. Always considered him a very cerebral player, and I think it would be great if he passed that down to either pros or youth players. He has a future somewhere in the soccer landscape, so I will interested to see where he lands. Maybe Bradley needs an assistant coach at Stabaek? I think he will have plenty of options.

  17. Andy Los Angeles says:

    Cherundolo may be the only current (now former) USMNT player that every fan regards in a positive light. Pretty amazing when you think about it.

  18. Stinky Pete says:

    Life without Dolo will be weird. I guess we have had two years or so to get used to the idea. He was rock for all of those years. I know this sounds weird but he was so good you almost didn’t notice him. He just did his job at a high level, wasn’t too flashy, and rarely if ever made mistakes. Dude was a true pro. I wish him luck in his post playing career. Maybe he can run for political office and become the actual Mayor of Hannover.

  19. Its always bad to see a good player retire early due to injury. This is why injury prevention is such a big part of youth soccer nowadays. Unfortunately for players like Cherundolo, injury prevention training wasnt around when he was a youth player, who knows how long he may have played for if it was!

  20. Javier says:

    JK should add him to his staff for WC 2014. With his experience he could be good for the young defenders on the US WC squad. And it would be a very nice gesture by Jk to still bring him to the WC as a member of the US team.

    • Bac says:

      Was about to say the same thing

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      I understand the sentiment from a fan’s point of view, but from a player’s perspective I don’t think it works. Coming this soon after his forced retirement, Steve’s presence on the staff in Brazil could easily come across as nothing more than a pity gesture and a constant reminder to all players that they are just an injury away from not playing—like a walking “public service message.” Professionals don’t need and should not be treated that way.

      • Joe C. says:

        Not sure I agree. I think Cherundolo could add plenty of intelligence, perspective, and leadership to the coaching team, “pity” be danged.

  21. Chris says:

    Real shame that this and chandler being done for the year comes out on the same day. Really depleted at RB now, I would say parkhurst should be starting there, with evans as his backup and kind of a utility guy for the WC.

  22. Tony in Quakeland says:

    sigh…

  23. Rags in DC says:

    Wow, that is sad. Agree with a lot of folks on this thread. While he did it quietly, his contribution to US Soccer was signficant. Am sad he wasn’t able to leg out 100 career caps which he completely deserves. What a great career. I really hope they do a send-off game of some sort for him.

  24. MVincent says:

    None shall soon forget that fateful moment in the ’11Golden Rose Bowl Cup. Mexico flooded the left when we lost our true gatekeeper on the right. All fell into chaos, confusion ……disaster!! (Howard Cosell anybody?) Dolo is the best of the American best ~

  25. KingGoogleyEye says:

    I hate this news. I can’t think of another player who captured my interest and admiration like Cherundolo. He played with grace, speed, and strength. He played extremely smart, like he could see two minutes into the future. Forwards and mids get all the glory, but Steve Cherundolo was the definition of “the beautiful game.”

  26. OB Rick says:

    My favorite player in and off the field. I have met him a couple of times and he was really friendly and down to earth. I wish him the best in his next career.

  27. Ben says:

    Stevie Wonder. Also the answer to the question of who is the American with the best European career?

    • argh says:

      Oguchi Onyewu? Clint Dempsey?

      Gooch has played everywhere and for some pretty big clubs

      Dempsey is a record PL goal scorer for a mid table English club and got some pretty big interest for a Yank

  28. Joe C. says:

    Proud to say this legend was one of the best to ever wear a US uniform.

  29. Dennis says:

    Good luck in your future endeavors Steve.

  30. blokhin says:

    with today’s news the RB depth chart looks like this:

    Cameron
    Chandler
    Cherundolo
    Lichaj
    Agoos
    Altidore
    Evans

  31. biff says:

    First, I agree with the laudatory comments above about Steven Cherundolo. An under-appreciated legend and no doubt in my mind that Dolo in his prime would be starting this summer in Brazi. But even great ones like him can’t go on forever and at some point the torch has to be handed to a younger generation and at this point we have another excellent right back who has been starting in the Premier League for nearly two seasons and also no doubt in my mind that Geoff Cameron is now a better right back than a 35-year-old Dolo.

    We currently have excellent starting fullback coverage with Geoff Cameron at RB and Fabian Johnson at LB and let’s hope they both are healthy for Brazil. But there are solid back-ups for Brazil who have proved their commitment to the team and who we know will fight like he!! for the cause. Parkhurst, Evans, Orozco, Beasley and, if posters today can be believed as I did not see LA getting whipped yesterday, then possibly even Greg Garza. And, who knows, maybe Jurgen the Tinkerer will have Julian Green playing left back by June.

  32. bryan says:

    totally get it but that is a real bummer. thanks for everything Dolo!

  33. BlacknRed5 says:

    Cherundolo’s professionalism, quality, loyalty, consistency and longevity rank right up there with Maldini, Zanetti and Puyol.
    All the best to him.

  34. Vic says:

    Steve, please stay on as some type of a coach and work your way up the system. Its very difficult for an MLS coach to get a shot coaching in Europe. However, a successful player such as yourself can certainly get that opportunity and pave the way for more American coaches.

    • argh says:

      AGREED. the best IMO is for him to spend several years with the club as an assistant coach. maybe by 2017 or 2018 he can be named manager. Pick up some Young Yanks while he’s at it.

  35. Roundhead says:

    perhaps he can return and do something with MLS. Perhaps his leadership somewhere in MLS would do great things for the league

  36. Stinky Pete says:

    Too bad he played his whole career in Germany so he isn’t really American. He’s not a product of the US system. His wife is German and he speaks near flawless German, its amazing he was able to play for the US all those years. This comment is for slowleftarm. Ambiguity!

    On a serious note: you will be missed Dolo.

  37. Yankeedom says:

    Thanks Dolo!

  38. Hejduk4President says:

    Boss.

  39. doug says:

    Just did his job. Game in and game out. Well Done.

  40. Daniel says:

    Just listened to Cherundolo on “Sky Sport News” (Germany) and he is going to work as an assistant coach for Hannover`s reserve team from now on. He is supposed to make his coaching licence soon.

  41. Brad says:

    Well the mayor of Hannover can just limp his way on crutches into the US soccer hall of fame. As good a career as had by any Yank abroad.

  42. Joe A. says:

    One of the most consistent americans ever.

  43. Wrighteous says:

    Undoubtedly our best fullback, ever. On top of that, he was an all around “class act” for the USMNT and for Hannover 96. Thank you Stevie for your years of service–the Hall of Fame awaits. Now come back home and coach!

  44. argh says:

    can someone tell the story of how he came to join Hannover 15 years ago?

    • BrianK says:

      Cherundolo was a standout youth player and was involved with the US youth program. He was on the team that qualified for the 2000 Olympics. At the time Hannover was a Bundesliga2 club looking for talent. He had played two years of college when he signed with Hannover.

  45. Strider257 says:

    Der Burgermeister! Dolo has been one of my favorite players on the USMNT for some time. He has shown tremendous heart and professionalism as well as great skill and athleticism. I was really hoping he could recover his from his injury and play in Brazil, but knew that was unlikely. Nevertheless, he will be long-remembered as an very valuable player for the team. Thanks so much for your efforts Steve!

  46. The Garrincha says:

    Thank you Steve Cherundolo for your service,
    Congratulations on a terrific professional and national team career.
    Looking forward to your next soccer endeavors.

  47. BrianK says:

    Wow! What a career. It seems like yesterday I went to Hershey, PA to watch Cherundolo, Wolf, Howard, Brown and Casey qualify for the Olympic games in 2000.

    An American one club man in the Bundesliga. Wow!! What a class act.

  48. Mike R says:

    A quiet legend. One of the best if not the best US defenders ever.

  49. M says:

    Good Luck to him assistant coaching Hannover under 23 team

  50. TBone says:

    A great and honest player for the USMNT. We all knew that this was coming, but its a very sad moment all the same.