Danny Califf was supposed to be the veteran leader of Toronto FC's defence, he was supposed to finally shore up a group that has been historically poor, he was signed to be the answer. That was never the case though as Califf's time at TFC was far from the success that fans and the club were hoping for. He saw himself sliding down the depth chart thanks to some shaky play and a number of mysterious ailments and injuries. That led to him spending the last month at home in California with the club constantly having to answer questions about his absence from training.
Now the answer has finally been made clear with Danny Califf officially announcing his retirement from professional soccer following a 14 year career. The 33-year-old penned a letter to the fans which made some interesting claims about his reasons for retirement.
Today, I am announcing my retirement from soccer. It is a very emotional day for me. However, I am not retiring because I have a career ending back injury, or because I have knee problems, or because TFC did not do their due diligence when they signed me in January.
The reason for my retirement is because when you are 33 years old and have played for 14 years at the professional level, you start to have priorities that reach beyond yourself. Do I really want to train every day knowing that I am not in the coach's plan to play, as well as knowing you are taking your kids and family away from their friends and other family? The answer is no. It's best to put my family and kids first, and to take the opportunity to still be involved in the game. For the first time in my life I will get to eat what I want, have a beer on a Friday night, and take a vacation in the summer. Those are the things I am looking forward to.
His letter makes is sound that Califf feels he could return from the injuries that have kept him out this year but did not want to put in the work to do so if he was not in the coach's plans for playing time. That is fair considering the things that he points out are waiting for him outside of the game. Between all the nice words you get the sense that he is ending his career because of Toronto FC and not because of injuries.
His career in soccer is not over though as TFC confirm that Califf will be moving into a scouting role with the club. It is unclear what that role will be but based on his letter to the fans chances seem good that it will allow him to spend a lot more time in California where his family is located.
Califf leaves the game having made over 400 appearances at the club and international level. At the top of his game he was one of the best CBs that the United States had and his resume includes winning the MLS Cup, Supporters Shield, US Open Cup, a CONCACAF Champions Cup, and a Danish Superliga title. In his 23 international caps with the United States he won a CONCACAF Gold Cup, played in the Confederations Cup, and in the Copa America. It was quite the resume but since his return to MLS in 2010 he has not quite been at that level.
"I'm sorry Danny is unable to carry on playing at the level he would like, and totally respect his decision to retire. He's been a very good player and should be proud of what he's accomplished," said Toronto FC President and General Manager Kevin Payne. "I'm very pleased that he will continue to be a part of our organization and assist us in building our team for the future."
Handing Califf a scouting role continues Toronto's tradition of finding a place for retired players. From Danny Dichio and Jim Brennan all the way to hiring Pat Onstad as their head scout and using players like Torsten Frings and Amado Guevara to form relations in other parts of the world. Just seems like anytime a TFC player retires there is a job waiting for them.
Shedding Califf opens up another roster spot for TFC to work with this summer as the club seem set to make a number of additions. With Luis Silva traded and Califf retired TFC may have the room they need to start making those big moves they have been promising.