Torsten Frings Announces Retirement

Toronto FC need all the help they can get if the Major League Soccer (MLS) club hopes to make the play-offs for the first time in club history. But with the team’s captain Torsten Frings announcing his retirement on Feb. 26 that task may now be almost impossible to achieve. The 36-year-old former German international said he was hanging up his soccer boots because he hasn’t fully recovered from hip surgery during the off-season.

Frings was one of the most experienced players in the history of Toronto FC as he played for Germany 79 times and took part in two World Cup tournaments for his homeland. He also played several seasons in the top-tier German Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund, Werder Bremen, and Bayern Munich. He played one and a half seasons in Toronto and 18 years in total as a professional player with close to 650 games under his belt.

Frings originally injured his hip last September and was forced to miss the remainder of the 2012 MLS season. He had surgery on the hip to try and rectify the problem and then attended Toronto’s preseason training camp. He managed to play in just one pre-season game with the team in February when he came on as a substitute. Frings then left training camp when he told team management he had a personal issue that had to be dealt with.

The former captain released a statement which said his hip hasn’t healed the way he had hoped it would and that was one of the major reasons he decided to call it a day on his career. He played 33 games for Toronto last season and scored two goals. The team wasn’t very good with him, but was worse without him as they ended the season without a win n their last 14 games.

Toronto will save a considerable amount of money with Frings retiring since he was paid a club-high $2.4 million last year as a designated player. However, just $350,000 of it counted against the salary cap. Frings said he enjoyed his time in Toronto and wished the franchise luck. He added that when he realized the hip wasn’t responding the way he hoped it would it was better for all concerned that he step away from the game even though he still had a year to go on his contract.

Kevin Payne, Toronto’s recently appointed general manager, said that everybody at the club feels bad for Frings, but understands that his hip injury will require a lot more rehab than originally expected. He added that Frings has agreed to help the team out by working on projects for them in Europe and thanked him for his continued commitment.

Payne will now be looking for a suitable replacement for Frings, but doesn’t have much time since the MLS season kicks off on March 2 against the Vancouver Whitecaps. He’ll also need to name a new captain. Brazilian Julio Cesar was signed in the offseason and he could possibly fit into Frings’ midfield position.

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