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Most capped Canadian men’s soccer player and former captain Stalteri retires

Jamaica's Demar Phillips battles for the ball with Canada's Paul Stalteri (R) during the first half of their 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers soccer match in Toronto August 20, 2008.

MARK BLINCH/REUTERS

Former national team captain Paul Stalteri, Canada's most capped men's soccer player, is retiring.

The 35-year-old fullback from Brampton, Ont., will make it official on a Canadian Soccer Association conference call Wednesday.

Stalteri has not played since undergoing a pair of hip surgeries in May and July 2011. Before that he was with Germany's Borussia Moenchengladbach.

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He had an impingement in each hip and surgery was needed to clean out the joint and allow it to move freely and without pain.

The veteran defender also played overseas for Werder Bremen, Tottenham and Fulham.

Stalteri won 84 caps for Canada, most recently in October 2010 in a friendly with Ukraine. That was his last competitive game, since he had fallen out of favour under a new coach at Moenchengladbach.

Last May, Stalteri told The Canadian Press that his rehab and post-surgery training had proved he could play again "at the top level."

"The search (for a new club) begins now," he said.

"I'd like to play again, that's for sure," he added. "But there comes a time where you also think about what's after football."

Stalteri played one year on a soccer scholarship at Clemson University before returning to Toronto and joining the Toronto Lynx.

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A former striker — he played up font with Dwayne De Rosario at the Lynx — he eventually shifted to fullback where his speed and energy served him well on the flank.

After being noticed by a scout from Werder Bremen, he joined the German team in November 1997.

He made his first team debut in August 2000 against Cottbus and Kevin McKenna, a future Canadian national team captain himself. They were the first Canadians to play in the top German league.

Stalteri scored in the game, another Canadian first. He went on to win the Bundesliga and German Cup in 2003-04 with Werder Bremen.

At the end of the 2004-05 season, he signed a four-year contract with Tottenham, eventually moving to Fulham on loan before returning to Germany.

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