Latvian soccer captain Gorkšs hangs up his international boots

Latvia's long-serving national soccer team captain, Kaspars Gorkšs, announced October 31 that he would retire from international duty with immediate effect.  

''After long and emotional discussions with my close ones and much reflection, I have decided to retire from national team duty. This is not an impulsive decision, but a decision I made after much thought,'' he wrote on his Facebook account.

The defender made his debut for Latvia in 2005 against Thailand, and played his last match earlier this month against the Faroe Islands as Latvia wound up a disappointing world cup qualifying group.

''I feel truly privileged to have have represented my country for 12 years and in 89 matches. Playing for Latvia was my childhood dream, and is my greatest accomplishment in my career,'' he said, while adding that he intends to run for president of the Latvian Football Federation next year and will continue to turn out at a lesser level.

Gorkšs went on to thank all of his coaches, teammates, friends, fans and loved ones, who have been together with him during times of joy as well as during the harder times.

Gorkšs played for Latvian football club FC Riga this past season, but has previously played for such clubs as Reading (England), Blackpool (England), Queens Park Rangers (England), Wolverhampton Wanderers (England), Colchester United (England), Dukla Prague (Czech Republic), Ergotelis (Greece), Osters (Sweden), Assyriska (Sweden), Liepaja (Latvia) and Ventspils (Latvia).

A reassuring and inspiring presence in defense, his sterling work was all the more impressive for coming during a period in which Latvian football was going through a tough time. He won the captaincy partly for his never-say-die attitude and ability to lead by example with numerous younger players coming into the team.

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