By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
JAMES YOUNGHUSBAND is following his brother Phil to retirement after the former announced on Thursday that he was hanging up his boots.
In a post on Instagram, Mr. Younghusband, 33, said that it was “Time to say goodbye” to the game where he built a solid career as a player, including being part of the renewed interest in local football in the last decade as a member of the Philippine Azkals.
“Thank you for the amazing memories. I have loved playing this game,” the post further read.
Mr. Younghusband, who was born to a British father and Filipino mother, went on to thank his family, bosses, managers, coaches, teammates, opponents and supporters who he said made his football journey in the country something to remember for the rest of his life.
He made his way to the country from England by way of the sport in 2005 as a member of the Under-23 squad that saw action at the Southeast Asian Games that year.
From there, he and his brother Phil, who retired last year, became steady fixtures in the national squad.
He played a key part in the Azkals’ groundbreaking showing on the road to the main draw of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup in Vietnam and in the tournament itself, which many credited to have started a “renaissance” in Philippine football.
Mr. Younghusband played for the national team in 101 games, scoring 12 goals.
Club-wise, he was part of San Beda FC, Meralco Manila, Davao Aguilas and Ceres-Negros FC.
With Ceres last year he was part of the team that won the Philippines Football League title and Copa Paulino Alcantara.
After news of Mr. Younghusband’s retirement came out, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) paid tribute to him, highlighting his contributions to the country’s football thrust.
“We thank James Younghusband for his valuable contributions to the growth of the sport in the country,” said PFF President Mariano Araneta in a statement.
“May his influence on and off the pitch inspire all young players who aspire to play for the country,” Atty. Edwin Gastanes, PFF general secretary, for his part, said.
Mr. Younghusband did not say what his next journey would be but in a recent guesting on the Usapang Football webcast of Rick Olivares he shared that he intends to stay in football and is open to dipping his hands in coaching, maybe even handling the Azkals down the line.