Jason deVos is turning in his well-travelled soccer boots for a television microphone.
For years, deVos was the face of Canadian soccer. He captained Canada's national team for six years, until he retired from international soccer in 2004. The Appin native played his last professional game of soccer Sunday for Ipswich City in the English Championship League.
"I've known about this months I was going to finish but we've somehow managed to keep it quiet," deVos said from Ipswich. "Right now, the movers are here backing my stuff. I'll be back in London (Ontario) next week. The press over here have been pestering me about the retirement for about two months ago.
"(Ipswich) wanted me to stay. I considered it. It was a really difficult decision to make but I have an opportunity to move into the next stage of my career. It's a great chance."
deVos will be joining CBC television as a soccer analyst, working MLS Toronto FC games beginning in a couple of weeks when Toronto plays Columbus. CBC also has the contract to televise the next two World Cups. deVos worked with the CBC doing the 2002 World Cup.
"I enjoyed it immensely. I learned a great deal from the experience. This was just too good an opportunity to turn down," deVos said. "It was the right time for me to leave the game. They wanted me to extend the contract but I thought, this is a good time to leave rather than wait until I got pushed out the door."
If there is a definition for professional, deVos would be it. A fierce competitor, he's made a career out of strong defending and big workload. He is a strong player in the air and has shown determination in the face of some serious injuries.
deVos signed his first professional contract with London Lasers when he was a Grade 10 student at Regina Mundi Collegiate in London. Since then he's played with Montreal Impact for five season. He was loaned to Third Division Darlington in England. He then began a three-year run with Dundee United of the Scottish Premier League, captaining the side in 2000. He has played for Wigan in England's First Division, finishing with Ipswich in the Championship League, one step below the English Premier League. He captained that side as well.
deVos has played 49 full internationals for Canada, scoring four goals including the winner in one of Canada's greatest wins ever, the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. He's spent 18 years as a professional player.
"I'm 34 and feeling it," deVos said. "I'm the only player at Ipswich who played every minute of every game this season. After the final game, I collapsed, exhausted physically and emotionally. You put so much effort into it. To play so hard and miss the playoffs by a whisker (one point) is a bitter pill to swallow. It's something that frustrates the heck out of you."
If there is a major disappointment for deVos, it's not having the chance to play for Canada in a World Cup tournament. Canada has had its opportunities but never been able to close the deal.
"It wasn't for lack of effort," deVos said. "I've said to the young lads at Ipswich. I'm retiring with a smile on my face because I know that I've given my very best every single day of my career. I've made the most of the limited amount of ability that God gave me."
"I worked my socks off to make a career in the game. I look back and I look back with pride, not regrets. I have no regrets whatsoever. I've had disappointments but those heal over time. I will look back and remember my days as a player with fondness."