Soccer

Jermain Defoe, former England and TFC striker, retires after 22-year career

Former England striker Jermain Defoe announced his retirement from soccer on Thursday at the age of 39, ending a 22-year professional career in which he become one of the Premier League's greatest scorers.

39-year-old finishes as 9th-highest scorer in Premier League history

Jermain Defoe, left, seen above with Toronto FC in 2014, announced his retirement from soccer at age 39 on Thursday. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

Former England striker Jermain Defoe announced his retirement from soccer on Thursday at the age of 39, ending a 22-year professional career in which he become one of the Premier League's greatest scorers.

Defoe scored 20 goals in 57 games for his country and was in England's squad for the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship in 2012.

At club level, he played for English teams West Ham, Tottenham, Portsmouth and Sunderland as well as Rangers in Scotland.

Defoe crossed the pond to join Toronto FC of MLS in 2014, signing a four-year deal and coming over to a widespread marketing campaign billing the move as a "bloody big deal." However, he returned to England's Sunderland less than a year later.

Defoe is the ninth-highest scorer in Premier League history with 162 goals in 496 appearances.

The final appearance of his career saw him come on as a substitute for Sunderland in a 0-0 draw at Lincoln in a third-division match on Saturday.

In a post on social media announcing his retirement, Defoe devoted special thanks to his mother.

"You gave me a ball at two years old," he wrote, "and you made me believe my dream could happen."

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