Striker Eduardo Sebrango has announced his retirement following a stellar 12-year playing career - four of which were as a member of Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
"It's a very sad moment for me because I felt this day would never come," Sebrango told Montreal Impact's official website. "It's a difficult decision for me because I still have the passion and energy to play and live the life of a pro player. I have been very lucky to have played all these years and to leave my sport with my health and with the respect of my peers. I would like to thank Joey Saputo, his family, and the entire Impact organization, who gave me the opportunity to make a career by playing the game I love. I would also like to thank the Whitecaps organization, all my coaches and teammates, my parents, my family, as well as my children Gabriella and Donovan."
Sebrango, 38, hangs up his boots as the second all-time leading scorer at the North American second division level after amassing a total of 98 goals and 30 assists for 226 points in 257 career appearances. This included five United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) championship titles - two of which were won with Whitecaps FC in 2006 and 2008.
The goalscorer left his native Cuba and began his professional career with Vancouver in 1999, where he finished second behind teammate and USL-1 scoring champion Niall Thompson with 18 goals and 10 assists for 46 points. After playing a memorable role in Whitecaps FC's run to their first USL-1 championship title in 2006, Sebrango won the first of two straight Domenic Mobilio Golden Boot awards as the club's top scorer with seven goals during the 2007 campaign. In his final season with Vancouver in 2008, the striker was again the club's top scorer, as well as Whitecaps FC Most Valuable Player, after leading Vancouver to their second USL-1 championship title in three seasons. He scored 16 goals and added three assists for 35 points that season. Sebrango sits 10th all-time in Whitecaps FC's career leader list with 45 goals and 15 assists for 105 points in 95 total appearances.
"Eddy was the consummate professional," said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. "He was the kind of player that had a good work ethic, good training habits, and is a really good guy. If there is a young player that you want to point in the direction of a player that he or she should model themselves after, Eddy would be the guy you would want to do that with. In terms of his contribution to our club, Eddy scored a lot of goals for us, which included some very important goals. As a striker, he was always prepared to work hard in terms of winning the ball back, which is not a usual characteristic of strikers. He's also a guy that is good to have around a club. Though it is unfortunate that time has caught up with him, we were fortunate to have him here in Vancouver when we did."
A native of Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, Sebrango also won three USL-1 championship titles with Rochester Raging Rhinos (2000) and Montreal Impact (2004 and 2009). The forward also finished his career as Montreal's second all-time leading scorer with 45 goals and 10 assists for 100 points. He also played for former USL-1 club Hershey Wildcats in 2001.
Before embarking on a professional career in North America, Sebrango scored 16 goals in 24 international appearances for his native Cuba, having first joined his country's national team program in 1994. Those appearances included involvement in Cuba's qualifying campaign for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France and the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament in Oakland, California. As a member of his hometown club FC Sancti Spiritus, the forward was named Cuban Player of the Year in 1997.
Sebrango will remain involved in Canadian soccer after being formally appointed to the coaching staff of the Montreal Impact Academy on Monday. He will be responsible for the program's secondary two players, while he will also serve as assistant coach of Impact Academy's U-16 team and coach of the program's strikers.