18 Dec 2015

Ben Sigmund to retire

12:13 pm on 18 December 2015

Wellington Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund has announced he'll retire at the end of the current A-League football season.

Sigmund, who is 34, said he's decided this year's the right time to finish his playing career after eight years with the Phoenix.

Wellington Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund celebrates Andrew Durante's goal against Gold Coast United at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, Sunday 4 March 2012. Photo: Justin Arthur / Photosport.co.nz

Ben Sigmund celebrates Andrew Durante's goal against Gold Coast United, 2012 Photo: Photosport

He said his body was telling him it's a bit tired and mentally it's a bit tough, plus the youngsters at the club were starting to catch him.

"When that's starting to happen, you know you've got to step back and get away from it."

Deciding to call time on his career wasn't easy.

"It's on your mind all the time. Probably the last 18 months you kind of question yourself when the right time is... I spoke to Ernie (Merrick, Phoenix coach) last year and he said, 'there's no way you're giving up at the end of last season', and I'm really grateful that that was the case because I played another year and I actually know now that it is the right time and I can't ask myself for anything else.

"And I'm just so proud of myself but also I'm proud of this club and where it's come to and how big football's grown in New Zealand, it's amazing how far it's come."

All Whites Ben Sigmund and Tim Brown after the 2009 win over Bahrain

All Whites Ben Sigmund and Tim Brown after the 2009 win over Bahrain Photo: Photosport

Sigmund said injuries were a part of his decision, but he was feeling great up until he got the bad head knock, and he had Giardia for quite some time too.

"There's a number of reasons, it's not just injuries, it all adds up in terms of the mental side of it, the physical side of it and then obviously for me a big thing is my family, I want to spend weekends with them and I want to take them to school every day and all those little things you miss out on."

He said there were "heaps" of "really great memories" and paid tribute to Merrick and his captain and central defensive partner Andrew Durante.

"Probably almost playing my best football under Ernie and that's a huge credit to Ernie. And then probably one of my biggest things is playing next to Andrew Durante for probably 130-odd games.

"It's something that I'll cherish because, not just as a player on the field but a bloke off the field and a great leader, and this club's been so honoured to have him here."

The former All White called time on his international career in 2014 after debuting back in 2000, though he then spent nearly seven years out of the senior national men's side before returning in 2007.

2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification playoff vs Bahrain, November 14th 2009: 
Tim BROWN Chris KILLEN Shane SMELTZ Mark PASTON Tony LOCHHEAD Rory FALLON (bottom from L) Ben SIGMUND Ryan NELSEN Leo BERTOS Ivan VICELICH Michael McGLINCHEY Pressefoto ULMER/Simon Watts

Ben Sigmund (bottom L) in an All Whites team photo from the 2009 playoff vs Bahrain Photo: AFP

Sigmund made 31 appearances for New Zealand.