Friday, February 11, 2011

Hastings announces his retirement as a player

Canadian golden goal hero Richard Hastings has officially announced his retirement, making the move from professional player to instructor at The Other Foot Soccer School Canada in Nanaimo, BC.

Hastings was a CONCACAF champion at both the national "A" and youth U-20 levels with Canada. He scored a famous golden goal against Mexico in the quarter-final stage of the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup. After beating Mexico 2:1 in extra time, Canada went on to defeat Trinidad and Tobago in the semi-final stage and Colombia in the final. It marked Canada's second confederation title.

"I would like to thank the Canadian Soccer Association and particularly the coaches that I have played under for giving me the opportunity to represent Canada," said Richard Hastings. "I have many highlights, memories and friendships to be thankful for throughout my international career. Now that I am retired, I will be focusing my efforts on raising the profile of the game in this country through my business The Other Foot Soccer School Canada."

Hastings made 59 appearances for Canada, making his debut on his 21st birthday on 18 May 1998 in Toronto, ON. His last international appearance was 29 May 2010 in Mérida, Venezuela. He retires ranked tied for 9th place in all-time appearances.

Hastings represented Canada at one FIFA Confederations Cup, two cycles of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, and five CONCACAF Gold Cups. He also represented Canada at one FIFA U-20 World Cup and one CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship. It was in 1996 that Hastings helped Canada win the CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship.

"Richard has served Canada well over his international career and his leadership will be missed by all involved," said national head coach Stephen Hart. "I do believe Richard still has some valuable experience to pass on as a professional, especially at the club level, but he has made a decision on what is best for him and his family. On behalf of the Canadian program, I would like to say thank you for his service to the country and wish him every success in the future."

At the club level, Hastings spent much of his career at Inverness Caledonian Thistle. He played for the Scottish Premier League team from 1994 to 2001 and 2004 to 2009. He was recognized with a testimonial dinner in 2009. From 2001 to 2004, he played for Ross County in Scotland, Grazer AK in Austria, and MVV Maastricht in Netherlands. In 2009-10, he played for Hamilton Academical in Scotland.

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