By DAN KARELL
After a 14 year career in professional soccer that has taken him across North America and to Europe, Danny Califf has decided to step away from the sport.
The Toronto FC defender announced his retirement on Friday, ending his playing career but staying with the Canadian club as a scout. In a letter penned to fans, the 33-year-old Califf highlighted how he wanted to spent more time focusing on his family after realizing he wasn’t in his coach’s plans.
“Do I really want to train knowing every day that I am not in the coach’s plans to play? The answer is no,” Califf wrote in a letter on TorontoFC.ca. “It’s best to put my family and kids first, and to take an opportunity to still be involved in the game.
“My family has moved around the world to watch me play the sport I love. Now, I get to watch my three kids play the same sport that has given me so much.”
The veteran defender ends his career with 234 matches in Major League Soccer for five clubs. Califf was the sixth-overall draft pick in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft, joining the Los Angeles Galaxy and helping them to MLS Cup, Supporters Shield, CONCACAF Champions Cup, and U.S. Open Cup trophies.
In addition to his MLS accomplishments, Califf represented the United States with the U.S. Men’s National Team on 23 occasions, winning the Gold Cup in 2002 and 2005, as well as playing in the 2003 Confederations Cup and the 2007 Copa America. Califf’s last appearance came in 2009 a 2-2 draw at El Salvador in World Cup qualifying.
After five years with the Galaxy and one with the San Jose Earthquakes, Califf moved to Denmark, signing with Aalborg BK. After winning the Danish Superliga in his third season with Aalborg, he joined FC Midtjylland, staying through 2010 when he returned to MLS with the Philadelphia Union.
Despite being named the first captain in Union history, Califf lasted just two full seasons with the club, being traded to Chivas USA last year. This past offseason, the University of Maryland product signed with Toronto FC after being selected in the MLS Re-Entry Draft. Califf made just four appearances this season for TFC.
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