Earnshaw retires after 18-year professional playing career, takes over as WFC U-14 head coach and club's strikers coach

VANCOUVER, BC - Striker Robert Earnshaw announced his retirement on Thursday, following a memorable 18-year professional playing career. In addition, the club confirmed that Earnshaw will immediately take over the head coaching duties for the Whitecaps FC U-14 Pre-Residency team and also serve as the club's strikers coach.

“I'm excited and ready to move on to the next stage of my life,” said Earnshaw. “It was important for me to retire as a player on my own terms and the opportunity to join Vancouver's coaching staff solidified my decision. I look forward to the opportunity to share what I've learned and help shape the club's young prospects. I am forever thankful to all the people who have supported me throughout the years - from my family, to my coaches, teammates, support staff, and of course the supporters.”


  • 59 international caps with Wales, scoring 16 goals
  • Only player to record a hat-trick in every professional league in England, including the FA Cup and League Cup, and for his country at the international level
  • Scored 220 career goals in 520 matches at the club level in England, Scotland, Wales, Israel, Canada, and the United States
  • Awarded Cardiff City Young Player of the Year in three consecutive seasons: 1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01
  • Helped Cardiff City win promotion following a runners-up finish in the Football League Division Three 2000-01 season and again via a playoff win in the Football League Division Two 2002-03 season
  • Named Cardiff City Player of the Year for the 2002-03 season after setting the club record for goals scored in a single season with 35
  • Finished 2011-12 Football League Cup runners-up with Cardiff City
  • Helped Maccabi Tel Aviv capture the 2012-13 Israeli Premier League title
  • Won the 2015 Voyageurs Cup in the Amway Canadian Championship with Whitecaps FC

“Congratulations to Earnie on a fantastic playing career,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “I had the pleasure of playing with him at both the club and country level and last year as his coach. He was a model player throughout his career, approaching everyday with professionalism, demanding high standards for himself and his teammates. I now look forward to working with him and helping him in his new role. He has a bright football mind and we are excited to take advantage of that with our young players."

Earnshaw ends his professional playing career with 579 appearances and 236 goals for club and country, scoring 220 goals in 520 matches at the club level in England, Scotland, Wales, Israel, Canada, and the United States.

Born in Mufulira, Zambia, Earnshaw moved to Wales when he was nine years old and made his senior debut for the Welsh national team on May 13, 2002. In his debut appearance, Earnshaw scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over 2002 FIFA World Cup finalists Germany at Millennium Stadium. In total, Earnshaw played for more than a decade with Wales, earning 59 caps and scoring 16 goals before announcing his retirement from international competition last year.

Earnshaw is the only player to record a hat-trick in every professional league in England, including the FA Cup and League Cup, and for his country at the international level.

“Football has been a big part of my life since I can remember,” added Earnshaw. “It's been an honour to play for a living and I am fortunate to be able to continue in the sport that I love."

The 34-year-old striker spent one season with Whitecaps FC after joining Vancouver last March as a free agent acquisition. Just three days after signing, Earnshaw scored a 90th-minute game-winner in his Whitecaps FC debut in the 2-1 victory over Cascadia rival Portland Timbers at BC Place. He would bookend his season with another goal in added time in the 'Caps 3-0 home win versus Houston Dynamo in the regular season finale.

In the end, Earnshaw would make 15 first team appearances across all competitions in his farewell year, including three starts in Vancouver's first-ever CONCACAF Champions League campaign and helped Vancouver win their first-ever Voyageurs Cup in the Amway Canadian Championship.

Earnshaw joined MLS in 2013, playing for Toronto FC for a year, before joining Chicago Fire in 2014. The 5-foot-8 striker finishes his MLS career with 13 goals while starting 24 of his 41 total appearances.

A product of Cardiff City’s youth program, Earnshaw made his professional debut with the senior side in 1998. He went on to make 201 appearances and score 105 goals across all competitions for Cardiff.

In 2004, Earnshaw joined English Premier League side West Brom Albion, scoring 12 goals in 43 matches. During the January 2006 transfer window, Earnshaw signed for Norwich City, scoring 27 goals in 45 matches before departing for Derby County in 2007. Earnshaw then represented Nottingham Forest from 2008 to 2011, where he scored 43 goals in 98 appearances before re-joining Cardiff in 2011.

In 2012, Earnshaw was loaned to Israeli Premier League side Maccabi Tel Aviv and helped them win the league before signing with Toronto FC. After leaving TFC, Earnshaw joined English side Blackpool FC.

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