Young-Pyo Lee retires from playing, accepts front office role
VANCOUVER, BC - Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today that defender Young-Pyo Lee has retired from playing in order to accept a front office role with the club.
Effective immediately, Lee will be deactivated from Vancouver's MLS roster and will begin working in the club's soccer operations department.
"Lee has been an exceptional leader since he joined our squad last season, so we're certainly disappointed to see him hang up his boots," said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. "While we'll miss him on the field, we're really excited that he has accepted this internship with the club. I know that with the same hard work and dedication he showed during his playing days he will make a big impact."
In his new role, Lee will be reponsible for booking team flights, arranging away team meals, and ensuring player curfews are met.
In just over one season in Vancouver, Lee, 35, started all 38 of his MLS appearances - missing only a single match - and playing every minute. During that time, the Korean legend scored one goal and recorded four assists with Whitecaps FC and was voted the club's 2012 Player of the Year.
A former Republic of Korea (South Korea) international, Lee sits third on his country’s all-time international appearance list after earning 127 caps between June 1999 and January 2011. This included appearances in three FIFA World Cup tournaments (2002, 2006, and 2010), with Lee playing a prominent role in the Taeguk Warriors’ memorable run to the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup, which they co-hosted with Far East rivals Japan. The native of Hongcheon-gun, South Korea, also appeared in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup in his home country and three Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup tournaments (2000, 2004, and 2011). Lee’s international appearances also include two matches against Canada in the 2000 and 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup when South Korea participated in the tournament as a guest nation. As a member of South Korea’s U-23 Olympic squad, the defender appeared at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.