After weeks of speculation here we are. Torsten Frings is retiring from the game, bringing an end to his time at Toronto FC. The club confirmed on their website this morning that after 18 years in the game Frings is going to be calling it a career. Now 36 years old it seems that last season's injury was just too much for Frings to overcome in time to contribute in 2013.
Frings signed for Toronto FC on June 29, 2011 having already had an impressive career in Europe that saw him represent Germany on 79 occasions and in some of the biggest tournaments. When he signed for TFC he immediately became one of the most talented athletes to ever grace the city's sporting teams even in the twilight years of his career.
His time at Toronto FC did not go exactly according to plan. He would end up working under three different coaches in under two years with the club and the club's record in MLS games where he featured was 8 wins, 11 draws, and 14 defeats. It was not the glorious turn around that fans were hoping for on the day that Frings and Danny Koevermans were unveiled as fancy new designated players.
The highlight of his time with Toronto will certainly go down as that run to the CCL semi-finals which had a lot to do with Frings being able to serve as the anchor of the back line and cover up for the poor play of the likes of Andy Iro and Ty Harden. When he went down injured it was a big blow to Toronto's chances against Santos Laguna and it showed in the ugly second half down in Mexico.
Frings retires with only two goals scored for TFC but his contributions seem to have gone much deeper than wins and losses or his personal stats. It did not take long to see that Frings was the clear leader of this team even before he was comfortable speaking English. He was the kind of player that everyone in the dressing room could look up to based on his experience as a player.
Frings himself seems to take credit for bringing a winning mentality to the club in the official release about his retirement. "I really enjoyed my time in Toronto and playing for Toronto FC. I wish the club all the best this season and hopefully they can continue to embrace the winning spirit that I brought to the team." Hopefully, his professionalism and work rate have left a lasting legacy on this club.
He never did manage to turn the club around but he was a true professional during his time in Toronto and always put in a good effort when he was on the pitch. With his time at the club coming to an end it seems right that he will continue to be a fan favourite around BMO Field for his time here. I for one would be just fine having 22 placed up on the wall as Frings has done as much for this club as any other player by captaining them to their first real taste of success outside of the Voyageurs Cup.
So now that the news is official how do you feel about the end of the Frings era at TFC?