Skip To Content

“Greatest Canadian player ever” Julian de Guzman hangs up his boots at Ottawa Fury FC

By Josh Lemoine on January 31, 2017

After a professional career spanning 17 years (including the last two with Ottawa Fury FC) and a record 89 games for the Canadian Men’s National Team, an emotional Julian de Guzman announced his retirement on Monday. He will remain a member of the Fury FC organization, assuming the role of Assistant Coach and Assistant General Manager.

“Football has been the love of my life,” de Guzman said.  “It has given me happiness and freedom, from all the blood, sweat and tears I’ve invested in this game, the end result is soccer has saved my life.”

C3ct3JaUkAEpgC4

“I’ve had to deal with doubters all my life, for example, my last year in Marseille when they told me to go back home because professional soccer wasn’t made for Canadians, but I hope I proved everybody wrong.”

“I’m very honoured and thankful for such a great career and I’m proud to be Canadian,” said de Guzman. “I’ve went through a lot, had to sacrifice everything to do what I love, but I don’t regret anything.  I’ve had to deal with doubters all my life, for example, my last year in Marseille when they told me to go back home because professional soccer wasn’t made for Canadians, but I hope I proved everybody wrong.”

“I’ve dedicated my entire career to Canada. This is the love of my life.”

A native of Scarborough, Ontario, de Guzman is the third Canadian to ever play topflight football in the German Bundesliga, and the first Canadian to ever play in Spain’s La Liga. In the 2007-2008 La Liga season, de Guzman led Deportivo La Coruña to a spot in the UEFA Cup, and was voted the team’s player of the season.

In his international career, de Guzman earned 89 caps, and was team captain for the last 25 of those matches. He took part in a Canadian record six CONCACAF Gold Cups, earning tournament MVP honours in 2007 when Canada reached the semifinals.

C3cYQuXWMAAvVQR

“I’ve dedicated my entire career to Canada. This is the love of my life.”

“In my opinion, he is the greatest Canadian player ever,” said Fury FC coach Paul Dalglish.  “To achieve what he achieved, on the international stage and in La Liga, one of the best leagues in the world, is truly incredible. And for us to have the greatest Canadian player joining our staff and being a source of knowledge to players that are trying to follow his footsteps is extremely valuable. We’re very lucky.”

Dalglish continued, “Julian has achieved what he’s achieved in the world game. This is the most popular game in the world, this is the most competitive game in the world.  What he’s achieved would be like me as a Scotsman coming to Ottawa and captaining the Sens. It’s not going to happen.  But this is a guy who came from a country that nobody gave any credibility to in soccer, and went on to play in two of the five biggest leagues in the world.”

For de Guzman, the decision to retire has been weighing on his mind for some time, but he believes now is the right time to begin a new chapter.

“I’ve been thinking about retiring since I finished my time in MLS [in 2012]. That’s the first time it really hit me, but I wasn’t convinced and felt like I could play longer.  But now, I feel like it’s the right time. I feel like I can bring much more off the pitch than on the pitch. I want to continue to help grow and improve the game in Canada. I feel very grateful for the opportunity with Fury FC.”