By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

THE local football community was caught by surprise on Monday night when Philippine Azkals legend and former captain Phil Younghusband announced his retirement.

Taking to social media, Mr. Younghusband, 32, said he was retiring from the game and setting his sights on a new adventure.

“Hanging up my boots! Thank you to my bosses, my coaches, team mates, competitors and all the supporters who have been part of my journey. See you all soon in a new adventure,” read his post on Instagram announcing his retirement from playing professional football.

His retirement marked an end to a more than a decade career, which included 108 appearances for the national men’s football squad where he scored 52 international goals.

After spending time with Chelsea FC in England in the mid-2000s, Filipino-British Younghusband took his talent here where he began as a member of the Under-21 and Under-23 teams.

He then moved to the seniors’ team where he was part of a group of players, which included his older brother James, Chieffy Caligdong and Ali Borromeo, among others, credited for the resurgence in appreciation for the sport of football in the country at the turn of this decade.

Mr. Younghusband was also a fixture in the local club tournament scene, playing for teams like Loyola Meralco Sparks and Davao Aguilas FC.

Earlier this year, he was part of the Azkals team which competed in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, coming off the bench.

When news of his retirement broke out, fans and other football stakeholders did not waste time showing their gratitude to the former Azkals captain and paying tribute to him.

“We thank Phil Younghusband for his storied career with the Philippine Men’s National Team,” a statement from Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta, Jr. read.

“His tremendous contribution for Philippine football will never be forgotten. May his legacy continue to inspire the next crop of football players,” it added.

Last July, Mr. Younghusband married his longtime girlfriend Margaret Hall in Canterbury in the United Kingdom.