Melbourne, June 27:
One of the most decorated players in Australian hockey, Liam de Young announced his retirement Friday after 312 international appearances.
The Brisbane-born, one of only four men to play more than 300 games for Australia, hung up his stick as an Olympic champion and a three-time Olympic medallist, double World Cup winner and three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
Since making his debut as a 19-year-old against Belgium in October 2001, de Young went on to represent Australia at three Olympics, four World Cups and three Commonwealth Games.
“As much as I enjoy being part of the Kookaburras and feel privileged to have been part of such an elite programme, I know that physically and mentally I can no longer commit to the program 100 percent and it is time to step away,” he said.
“I could not have asked for a better finish to my career than to win the World Cup so convincingly in front of an amazing crowd and my family and friends. It was the perfect finish to my career.”
The 32-year-old won the Olympic gold in Athens 2004 and back-to-back World Cups in 2010 and 2014, coming after two successive World Cup final defeats.
The scorer of 35 international goals thanked the coaches he worked under and the support staff.
“I have had the privilege of being coached by two of the best coaches in history during my international career — thank you to Barry Dancer and Ric Charlesworth. Both had an incredible knowledge of the game and a desire to help me improve as a player and enabled me to play at my full potential. I will always be grateful for their guidance,” said the Kookaburra.
The Queenslander also thanked his teammates.
“To my teammates over the past 14 years, thanks for making 6 a.m. gym sessions bearable. I am honoured to have played with each and every one of you. A special thanks to Rob Hammond and Nathan Eglington who I lived with when I first moved to Perth as a 19-year-old and who became lifelong friends,” said de Young.
“I learnt a lot from them as well as guys like Paul Gaudoin, Bevan George and Troy Elder who often went out of their way to encourage and offer advice. And to guys like Mick McCann, Jamie Dwyer and Mark Knowles who are some of my closest mates, I have learnt a lot from you, in particular what it takes to train and prepare to be the best.”
Post-retirement, de Young intends to spend more time with his family — wife Sarah and children Sienna and Harrison — and by playing golf.