Frings steps away after 18 years as a pro

[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Toronto FC's new regime began the year three Designated Players whom they'd probably just as well do without. Eric Hassli was traded to FC Dallas in early February. Former German World Cup player Torsten Frings, the team captain, announced his retirement on Tuesday because of hip problems. That leaves only Danny Koevermans under contract, though the Dutchman's status is uncertain as he out until June with a knee injury.

Frings, 36, is retiring after 18 seasons as a pro player.

He joined Toronto FC in 2011 and went on to make 46 appearances, scoring two goals and adding three assists in all competitions.

“During preseason we discovered that my recovery would take longer than expected,” he said. “I always want to do what’s best for the team and that is why I have decided to step away. 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.”

Frings' best run with TFC coincided with its march to the semifinals of the 2011-2012 Concacaf Champions League and Amway Canadian Championship title.

Frings spent 14 seasons in the Bundesliga and played 79 caps for Germany. He is perhaps best remembered for his handball on the goal line that was not called, denying the USA an equalizer in its 2002 World Cup quarterfinal with the Germans.

USA-Germany (Frings handball @ 1:45):

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