Blaise Nkufo, the veteran striker with more than 450 appearances and 200 goals during a 17-year career, has decided to retire from professional soccer, Seattle Sounders FC announced today.
“During our relationship we have found Blaise to be both a gentleman and a great sportsman,” said Adrian Hanauer, owner and general manager. “We wish him all the best and believe that, much as he did on the pitch, he will find great success in whatever he chooses to pursue in the future.”
In a statement, Nkufo said he will continue to live in North America, or Vancouver, B.C., and pursue some youth-coaching opportunities.
“In announcing my retirement from playing, I want to thank the Sounders organization and their fans for making me feel so welcome in Seattle,” said Nkufo. “I also would like to extend my gratitude to my teammates and wish them great success.”
Nkufo, 35, joined the Sounders on July 15, 2010, and went on to score five goals in 11 MLS matches. Those goals came during the first three matches of an eventual four-game win streak. Nkufo became the first Seattle player to register a hat trick, scoring three times in a 4-0 victory at Columbus.
“My plan is to stay in North America,” said Nkufo, “and I look forward to opportunities where I can work with young players and help them realize their dreams to play at a high level.”
Prior to joining the Sounders, Nkufo represented Switzerland in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, completing his international career with 27 caps and seven goals. He played the previous seven seasons for FC Twente in Enschede, Holland. Twente won the Dutch Eredivisie in 2010 and Nkufo scored a club record 114 career goals in league play.