United States Men’s National team and Hannover 96 defender Steve Cherundolo announced his retirement today after struggling with knee injuries for more than a year.
Cherundolo played his entire professional club career in Germany, with Hannover, earning the captaincy and coming to be known as the Mayor of Hannover.
Born in Rockford, Illinois Cherundolo was raised in San Diego and left the University of Portland in 1999 to join Bundesliga 2 side Hannover 96.
Cherundolo and Hannover made the jump to the Bundesliga in 2001-02 and he would go on to make a club record 302 Bundesliga appearances for Hannover, and as of 2013, Cherundolo was the longest serving player in the German top flight.
That club success translated into a long international career with the U.S. MNT, and Cherundolo retires with 87 caps, having played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. Although he made the roster, injuries prevented Cherundolo from playing in the 2002 Cup.
Never the flashiest of players, Cherundolo made himself essential for both Hannover and the United States with his calm, assured style of play. “Dolo” was never much of a goal scorer, scoring just seven times for his club and twice for the U.S.
Despite that lack of goals, however, Cherundolo was a good offensive player. He had the speed to get down the wing and his crossing and passing were plusses in his game.
The 2010 World Cup was expected to be Cherundolo’s last, but as various potential replacements failed to impress, it became clear that his time as a U.S. international was not quite up. Then came the knee injuries that would lead to today’s announcement.
In Cherundolo’s absence the right fullback position has become a concern for the U.S. MNT, and just three months from Brazil, the spot is still up for grabs.
Long thought of as a potential coach, Cherundolo will stay on at Hannover as an assistant coach on the club’s U23 team.