Steven Caldwell formally announced Tuesday that he is retiring after 17 seasons as a professional football player. Caldwell will transition into his role as Director of Corporate Development with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.
Caldwell, 34, originally joined Toronto FC on May 7, 2013 on loan from Birmingham City F.C. (Birmingham City), and signed a permanent contract on July 2, 2013 following the completion of his loan agreement. Caldwell made 49 combined appearances, scoring one goal for Toronto FC. He was named captain on July 13, 2013 and wore the armband in 40 matches for the Club, and remained captain until the conclusion of the 2014 season. Caldwell retires as the second longest serving captain in Toronto FC history, behind Jimmy Brennan. His final match for the Club came on Saturday, March 14, 2015 in Columbus, where he was substituted at half-time due to injury.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement from the game I love. Football has been my life since a very young age and I appreciate the opportunity I’ve had to live out my dreams. I would like to thank all my teammates and coaches I’ve learnt from along the way, creating friendships and bonds that will last forever,” said Steven Caldwell. “To all the magnificent clubs, it was an honour to represent you both home and away. I hope the fans appreciated the pride I felt putting on their jersey. Finally to TFC, I appreciate and love this club more than all the others. The opportunity to stay here and be a part of the success that will come is a privilege. I feel responsible and committed to doing everything I can to help this club prosper and win.”
Caldwell began his professional career with Newcastle United F.C. (Newcastle) during the 1998-99 season and went on to spend six seasons with the Magpies. During his time at Newcastle, Caldwell went on three separate loan spells, Blackpool FC and Bradford City A.F.C. (both during the 2000-01 season) and at Leeds United (2003-04). Following his time with Newcastle, Caldwell signed with Sunderland A.F.C. ahead of the 2004-05 season and remained with the club for just over two seasons. He scored the game winning goal against Leicester City to secure Sunderland’s promotion to the English Premier League on April 25, 2005. From there, Caldwell went on to sign with Burnley F.C. (Burnley) in January 2007. Caldwell captained Burnley to promotion into the English Premier League by winning the 2008-09 Football League Championship playoff trophy. After leaving Burnley, Caldwell spent one season at Wigan Athletic F.C for the 2010-11 season. He later signed with Birmingham City in July 2011 and spent two seasons at the club before joining Toronto FC.
“Steven Caldwell is a true professional in every sense of the word and has played an important role at Toronto FC since his arrival. We appreciate his endless contributions to the Club,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “He will be missed on the pitch, but we are all very excited that Steven will be remaining with MLSE on the business side and continuing to be a part of the future of Toronto FC. I know personally Steve loves this Club, and he can now express the passion and commitment we are used to seeing on the field in another capacity within the organization.”
Caldwell earned 12 caps for the Scottish National Team during his career. He made his debut on April 25, 2001 during a 1-1 draw away to Poland. He last represented Scotland on February 9, 2011 a 3-0 victory over Northern Ireland during the 2011 Nations Cup.