Former Newcastle and Sunderland defender Steven Caldwell announces retirement

The ex-Scotland international established himself as a fan favourite at MLS club Toronto FC over the past three seasons.

Former Newcastle United and Sunderland defender Steven Caldwell has formally announced his retirement from professional football after a 17-year career.

The ex-Scotland international, who has spent the past three seasons at Toronto FC, said in a statement on the MLS club’s official website: “It’s with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement from the game I love. Football has been my life since a very young age and I appreciate the opportunity I’ve had to live out my dreams.

“I would like to thank all my teammates and coaches I’ve learnt from along the way, creating friendships and bonds that will last forever. To all the magnificent clubs, it was an honour to represent you both home and away. I hope the fans appreciated the pride I felt putting on their jersey.

“Finally to TFC, I appreciate and love this club more than all the others. The opportunity to stay here and be a part of the success that will come is a privilege. I feel responsible and committed to doing everything I can to help this club prosper and win.”

Caldwell, 34, began his professional career with Newcastle during the 1998-99 campaign and went on to spend six season with the Magpies, taking in loan spells at Blackpool, Bradford City and Leeds United, respectively, before eventually being released in the summer 2004.

From there, the Stirling-born centre-back would go on to spells with local rivals Sunderland, Burnley, Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City, before heading across the Atlantic in May 2013 to join Toronto on loan from the Blues.

With his move made permanent two months later, the 12-times capped Scot made 49 combined appearances for the Canadian outfit and scored one goal, while also wearing the captain’s armband on 40 occasions.

Injuries began to pile up this season, however, and, after being forced off at half-time of March’s 2-0 defeat at Columbus Crew SC with calf and Achilles tightness, the veteran stopper failed to make it back to the pitch.

"Steven Caldwell is a true professional in every sense of the word and has played an important role at Toronto FC since his arrival,” TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko told the club’s official website. “We appreciate his endless contributions to the Club. He will be missed on the pitch, but we are all very excited that Steven will be remaining with MLSE on the business side and continuing to be a part of the future of Toronto FC.

“I know personally Steve loves this Club, and he can now express the passion and commitment we are used to seeing on the field in another capacity within the organization.”

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