Wellington Phoenix stalwart Ben Sigmund has announced today that he will retire at seasons end.
Ben Sigmund announced his retirement from football today, effective at season end, but don’t expect him to change his all-action approach when he gets the chance to play.
After meeting the media on Friday there was a sense of relief about an emotional Sigmund who has been such a magnificent servant to the Phoenix and New Zealand.
Sigmund won’t be in the starting line-up on Saturday, not even on the bench, given he is struggling a little with a body that has taken a battering over the years on the rugby field as well as the football pitch, but such is his stature within the club that he only has to be in the stadium to raise those around him.
It isn’t stretching things too far to suggest that in Sigmund the Phoenix have their own Steven Gerrard.
No one in their right mind would suggest that Sigmund had Gerrard’s talent, but when it comes to a big heart and leadership qualities then he is every bit the equal of the Englishman.
From the moment he arrived at the Phoenix’ Newtown Park training facilities, Sigmund has given everything for the cause and he hopes he will be able to be a part of the club for years to come.
Typically, Sigmund is determined to be back on the field before the season ends and after that hopes to continue with the Phoenix in some capacity.
“It is a wrench when you decide it is time to hang up the boots,” Sigmund said.
“I just know the end of the season is the right time because I’m not just struggling physically; I am mentally tired as well.
“I look at the kids and want to take them swimming or to the beach at weekends. Now I will have that chance and the thought of it will keep me going for the rest of the season.
“I’ve tried to give 120 per cent every time I’ve taken the field and that won’t change.
“I am determined to get fully fit and get back into the side at some point.”
Sigmund, 34, has prepared well for the next part of his life and is keen to mentor players at the Phoenix and help advise on careers when they finish.
“I have spent the last three or four years up skilling myself, including doing a life coaching course,” he says.
“I’ve gone to different sporting bodies, including the rugby union, finding out what is needed and I am just about ready to set up a business at the end of the season.
“I have loved every moment of my sporting career and will have no regrets when it is over.
“There is a lot happening in my life at the moment with a lot of things on the horizon
“But hell yes . . . . It is going to be one heck of a wrench.”