MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Azkals stalwart James Younghusband on Thursday announced his retirement from the sport, after a celebrated career that saw him help elevate football's popularity in the Philippines.
On Instagram, Younghusband said it was "time to say goodbye."
"Thank you for the amazing memories," the 33-year-old Younghusband said. "I have loved playing this game."
"Thank you to my family, bosses, managers, coaches, team mates, opponents and all my supporters who have been part of my professional career," he added.
"I feel lucky to have experienced wonderful memories and thankful for every moment of my time with my clubs and country."
Younghusband played for the Philippines from 2006 to 2019, amassing 101 caps and scoring 12 goals. He was part of the Azkals team that defeated Vietnam in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, a milestone that has since been dubbed the "Miracle in Hanoi."
He made his last appearance against Kyrgyz Republic in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 in January 2019.
A product of the Chelsea FC Youth Academy in England, Younghusband played club football for the Loyola Meralco Sparks, Davao Aguilas, and Ceres Negros.
His announcement was met by an outpouring of love from the Philippine football community, with several former and current players paying tribute to Younghusband.
"We thank James Younghusband for his valuable contributions to the growth of the sport in the country," Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta said in a statement.
"May his influence on and off the pitch inspire all young players who aspire to play for the country," added PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes.
"It was an honor to play with you," said former Azkals player Anton del Rosario. "Miss owning that right side with you."
Patrick Reichelt said Younghusband will be remembered as "one of the Philippines' greatest of all time" and thanked the veteran for being a role model. "You'll do great in whatever will follow," he said.
Simon McMenemy, who coached the Azkals in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, lauded Younghusband for his humility. "Congrats on a history changing career," he said.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).