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Oh Captain My Captain: Steven Caldwell Retires

Throughout his entire time with Toronto FC the captain's armband never really left Steven Caldwell's arm as the Scotsman was a leader on and off the field.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

When I remember Steven Caldwell's days at Toronto FC, he is wearing a suit not a kit. This isn't because injury meant he ended his career on the sidelines, it was because on and off the field he defined the professional part of professional soccer player.

When the final whistle blew and the game ended Caldwell's job was only beginning. No matter what the result was he would always face the media, and he would not do so until he was fully dressed in a well-pressed suit.

He was calm, patient and thoughtful as he answered every question asked of him by journalists. He would always make sure everyone got an answer, and rarely cut any interviews short.

When the last question had been asked and the last camera turned away from his face Caldwell would exit BMO Field. This is when he would get to do what always seemed like his favourite part of the job: interacting with supporters.

Whether it was giving a family a tour of the BMO Field facilities after shaking everyone's hand and humbly introducing himself as Steven, or taking pictures with the masses gathered around BMO Field after the game, he always had his signature warm smile.

That didn't change when he was injured in Toronto's second game of the 2015 MLS season against the Columbus Crew. That would turn out to be the last game of his 17-year professional soccer career.

While he was unable to do the soccer part of his job, he carried out his role as a professional each and every week around the grounds of BMO Field.

At every event and every home game he was there, making time for each and every supporter who wanted to talk to him. He made it clear that he loved the city and the team, and as a result they both loved him back.

Circumstances took away his captain's arm band this season, and injury took his ability to lead the backline on the field. But that didn't stop him from being a leader off the field as he was always present for his teammates.

If you ask any of the young defenders he has worked with: Nick Hagglund, Eriq Zavaleta and especially Doneil Henry they are all incredibly thankful for the mentorship they were provided by Caldwell.

That opinion certainly extends far beyond Toronto, as several other players including Canadian National Team Captain David Edgar took to social media today to thank the Scotsman.

In his 17 year career Caldwell suited up for Newcastle United, Blackpool, Bradford City, Leeds United, Sunderland, Burley, Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City before finishing his career in Toronto. Caldwell also earned 12 caps for the Scottish National team.

It is Toronto FC, however, that Caldwell loved more than any of the nine other clubs for which he played, he said in a club released statement today.

With Toronto FC he appeared in 46 games in three years. In that time he scored a single goal, which came against the Montreal Impact, and added an assist.

The good news is that he will not be leaving the club entirely. As they are prone to do with players like Danny Dichio, Jimmy Brennan and recently Dwayne De Rosario who make an impact in their time with Toronto, they have given Caldwell a job.

Caldwell will be taking a role as one of the directors of corporate development with Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment and as a result will likely remain as close to BMO Field as ever.

"The opportunity to stay here and be a part of the success that will come is a privilege," said Caldwell in a statement today. "I feel responsible and committed to doing everything I can to help this club prosper and win."

That means his professionalism and charm won't be leaving BMO Field any time soon. While this announcement will be tough for all Toronto FC supporters that at least makes things a little bit better.

Having a leader like Caldwell in your organization is something that simply cannot be replaced. While he may be hanging up the boots he won't be taking off the metaphorical captain's armband just yet.