By Jonas Terrado
James Younghusband announced his retirement Thursday after a decorated career highlighted by his role in the Philippine Azkals’ historic run in the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals a decade ago.
“Time to say goodbye,” the 33-year-old Younghusband said on his social media accounts while expressing gratitude to everyone who have been part of a senior career that began in 2005.
“Thank you for the amazing memories. I have loved playing this game. Thank you to my family, bosses, managers, coaches, team mates, opponents and all my supporters who have been part of my professional career.
“I feel lucky to have experienced wonderful memories and thankful for every moment of my time with my clubs and country. Thank you,” added Younghusband.
His retirement came months after younger brother Phil decided to hang it up. The Fil-English brothers made their national team debuts in 2005 after a youth career with Chelsea.
While there’s no doubt that Phil was the more popular of the siblings, James played a pivotal role in the Azkals’ breakthrough run in the 2010 Suzuki Cup.
James’ last-second goal against host Laos enabled the Azkals to salvage a 2-2 tie in Vientiane and secure a spot in the Suzuki Cup group stage.
He was part of the starting 11 when the Azkals stunned host Vietnam 2-0 in that year’s group stage, a match later became known as the “Miracle in Hanoi.”
The midfielder scored 12 international goals and joins Phil as the only players on record to play at least 100 caps for the Philippines.
Younghusband appeared in three Suzuki Cup semifinals and the Philippines’ breakthrough appearance in last year’s Asian Cup in United Arab Emirates.
On the domestic front, James played alongside Phil for the Loyola Meralco Sparks, helping the club reach the semifinals of the 2012 Singapore Cup and win the 2013 United Football League Cup and 2015 Philippine Football Federation Club Championship.
He and Phil left the Sparks midway into the 2017 Philippines Football League season to play for the Davao Aguilas before James became part of the Ceres-Negros’ side that won the 2019 PFL and Copa Paulino Alcantara double.