Nash retires from professional soccer

BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:58 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Whitecaps will have a new captain when they debut in Major League Soccer next March.

Martin Nash retired Wednesday after leading the United States Soccer Federation Division 2 semi-finalists with five goals in 2010. The 34-year-old Regina native will become an assistant coach with the reserve team but will also scout for and assist for senior head coach Teitur Thordarson.

"Hopefully down the road maybe I'll be managing the team one day," said Nash, who became captain in 2009. "This could take me another 30 years, whereas playing, it's gotta end."

The younger brother of Whitecaps' co-owner and NBA star Steve Nash debuted as a Vancouver 86er in 1995 and played 10 of his 16 professional years at Swangard Stadium. He won league championships with Rochester (2000 and 2001) and Vancouver (2006 and 2008).

Nash also scored twice in 38 games for the Canadian national team, which won the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Nash said the decision to retire from playing and enter the coaching ranks was his alone, but admitted he faced some physical challenges in 2010.

"If Martin were younger he'd definitely have all the qualities to play on (the MLS) level," Thordarson said. "We have changed Martin out in several games. We felt he physically wasn't managing 90 minutes and that always is a certain sign that things are happening."

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca


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