U.S. captain Reyna retires from international play

Saturday, June 24, 2006

HAMBURG, Germany -- The United States is going to have to find a new "Captain America."

Claudio Reyna bid farewell to the U.S. national team on Friday, retiring from international competition after a dozen years in which he helped boost soccer to prominence in America.

A day after his final World Cup game ended with a loss and an injury, Reyna said he had decided on retirement from the national team before the tournament. He turns 33 on July 20, and didn't think sticking around until the 2010 World Cup was realistic.

"It was clear that four years is too much time now to make the next one," he said at a news conference. "So it just makes sense to stop now. I think it's a good time, as well, to stop playing at a good level."

Reyna, who will continue to play for Manchester City in England's Premier League, joined the national team in 1994 and was on the U.S. World Cup roster for the fourth time. He became captain in 1998, shortly after Bruce Arena was hired as coach, and was known in Europe as "Captain America."

He filled a key role in the Americans' surprising run to the quarterfinals in 2002. But in his final World Cup, the United States finished last in Group E with one point after losing 2-1 to Ghana on Thursday in a game the Americans needed to win to advance to the second round.

He scored eight goals in 112 international appearances, directing the team's offense from the center of the midfield, and his 19 assists are third in American history.

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