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US Soccer's Eddie Pope Retires

Defender Eddie Pope has become the third member of the U.S. men's national soccer team to announce his retirement since the World Cup in Germany.

Pope, 32, made his announcement Thursday, ending an 11-year international career that included nine World Cup matches played since 1998 and 82 appearances overall.

Within the last several weeks, 33-year-old team captain Claudio Reyna and 34-year-old forward Brian McBride announced their retirements from international play.

Pope is tied with Reyna and Kasey Keller for the most ever World Cup qualifying appearances in U.S. history, playing in 31 matches during three qualifying campaigns.

U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said, quote, "Eddie has been the measuring stick for defenders in this country for nearly a decade."

Pope is the first three-time World Cup veteran to play his entire professional career in U.S. Major League Soccer. He was on three MLS champion teams and has been named an All-Star each of his 11 seasons. He currently plays for Real Salt Lake in (the western state of) Utah.

Former U.S. coach Bruce Arena, who also coached Pope with Major League Soccer's DC United and in the 1996 Olympics, said he "is arguably the finest defender this country has ever produced."