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March 28, 2011 at 2:19 PM

It’s official: ex-Sounders FC forward Blaise Nkufo has retired

nkufo retires.jpgPhoto credit: Jamie Sabau, Getty Images

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This was a move that many of us probably anticipated — especially after this report from Holland — but now it’s official. Blaise Nkufo has announced his retirement through a Sounders FC news release.

“In announcing my retirement from playing, I want to thank the Sounders organization and their fans for making me feel so welcome in Seattle,” said Nkufo in the release. “I also would like to extend my gratitude to my teammates and wish them great success.”

Nkufo left the team abruptly before the season opener in what was called a mutual parting.

The 35-year-old claims over 450 professional appearances and 200 goals over a 17-year career. He joined Sounders FC on July 15, 2010 and scored five goals. The Swiss forward recorded the first hat-trick in franchise history last year against Columbus.

“My plan is to stay in North America,” said Nkufo, “and I look forward to opportunities where I can work with young players and help them realize their dreams to play at a high level.”

Said general manager Adrian Hanauer: “During our relationship we have found Blaise to be both a gentleman and a great sportsman. We wish him all the best and believe that, much as he did on the pitch, he will find great success in whatever he chooses to pursue in the future.”

Nkufo, whose family lives in Vancouver B.C., scored seven goals in 27 caps with the Swiss national team. He played in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which included an upset win over Spain in the group stage.

Previously he played seven seasons for Dutch club FC Twente, where he scored a club record 114 career goals in league play, won the Eredivise league title in 2010 and had a bronze statue of his likeness built outside the stadium.

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