NYCFC Defender Iraola Retires

Iraola
Andoni Iraola spent two seasons with NYCFC. Photo: New York City FC
Iraola
Andoni Iraola spent two seasons with NYCFC. Photo: New York City FC

Another veteran member of New York City FC is leaving the club.

Andoni Iraola has announced his retirement from soccer, ending a 16 year career that began in Spain where he played for La Liga’s Athletic Bilbao. In 2015, he joined NYCFC and appeared in 40 matches.

His retirement follows the decision of Frank Lampard to leave the club after his contract expires in December.

“I would like to thank everyone inside and outside of the club who has made me feel at home from the very first moment,” Andoni told NYCFC.com: “I would especially like to thank my teammates who I have learned from until the last day but also all of the coaches, medical personnel, sporting staff and everyone inside the office who always help to make our lives easier.

“I would also like to thank our fans for their constant support, especially the support they give us when we least deserve it. I feel very privileged to have lived this experience – ever since the beginning of this club which will continue to grow.

Andoni graduated through Athletic Bilbao’s youth system and played for 12 seasons at the San Mames, with more than 500 appearances for Los Leones.

As an international teammate of David Villa, Iraola won seven caps for Spain between 2008 and 2011 and finished as a runner-up in the Europa League with Athletic in 2012.

“Andoni has been a fantastic servant to this football club and it’s been a pleasure to have coached such a dedicated and talented player,” said Patrick Vieira, New York City’s head coach. “He is somebody who does not covet the limelight but is content to do his job quietly to the highest standards, making those around him play better as a result.”

Sporting Director Claudio Reyna echoed Vieira’s sentiments, emphasizing that the 34-year old will be difficult to replace.

“It was an easy decision to bring Andoni to the club in 2015 – we were delighted that he agreed to come and we’re so grateful for the incredible service he’s given us in his time here,” Reyna said. “I believe his experience and professionalism have made a huge impact in the young history of NYCFC, showing the younger players in the locker room the standards they must aspire to in order to compete at the top level year after year.”

Information for this story was provided by New York City FC.