Former Sky Blue and fans favourite Nick Carle will return to Sydney FC after announcing his retirement from professional football on Saturday.
The attacking midfielder has been battling a knee injury for 18 months which he sustained during the Sky Blues 3-3 draw with Melbourne Victory in December 2014.
However after months of treatment and attempts to get back to full fitness the former Australian international has decided to call time on his playing days.
On his retirement, he released the following statement: “After an enjoyable 18 years of being a professional footballer it comes with a very heavy heart to announce my retirement from football.
“Following an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) operation 18 months ago my knee has unfortunately not healed the way I had hoped.
“Both myself and my family, who have been my rock through the highs and lows of being a footballer, have had some amazing experiences and I will be forever grateful to the sport for this.
“I have been lucky enough to make some lifelong friends and been fortunate enough to have Tony Rallis as my agent who will remain a friend for a lifetime.
“The next chapter of my life will be giving back to the game and coaching kids at Southern Districts as well as working with Sydney FC Academy Director Kelly Cross to recognise young talent for Sydney FC’s Academy program. I thank both Sydney FC and Southern Districts for these opportunities and keeping me involved in the game I love.
“As much as I will miss the game, I am grateful this horrible injury happened at 33 not 23. I would like to thank the fans throughout my career, it has been an enjoyable ride.”
Discussing his new role with Sydney FC, Carle said he was pleased to still be involved with the Sky Blues and hopes to bring more quality players to the club.
“I’ll be helping scouting players up to the under 13’s,” Carle said of his position with the Academy.
“It’s great to be involved with the club, and I’m really looking forward to helping Kelly in identifying talent.
“I’ve got a lot to learn from Kelly and I’m looking forward to working with him. Hopefully we can identify and develop some really good players for the Sydney FC Academy.”
Sydney FC Academy Director Kelly Cross believes having an ex-pro of Carle’s calibre within the set up will be a big bonus for the program.
“Nick will be our eyes and ears in the SAP [Skills Acquisition Program] competition,” Cross said,
“To have his knowledge on board will be of huge benefit in helping to make us aware of talented players from under 9’s to 12’s level.”
Carle will start his role with the Academy in the coming weeks.