Forward Iain Hume, whose soccer career took him from England to India with 43 Canadian caps along the way, has officially confirmed his retirement.
The 39-year-old's last club was India's FC Pune City, which he left in June 2019. More recently he has served as a TV analyst for OneSoccer and as head coach of Woodstock FC.
He did not officially call it quits as a player, however, until this week in a social media post.
Born in Edinburgh to Scottish parents, Hume came to Canada when he was one. Growing up in Brampton, Ont., he left for England as a teenager to pursue his soccer dream. He worked his way through the youth ranks at Tranmere Rovers, becoming the English club's youngest ever player at 16 years, 167 days in an April 2000 game against Swindon.
In 2003, he helped lead Canada on a fairy-tale run to the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates where he, along with midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, was named to the tournament all-star team.
A 500,000-pound ($783,655) move took him to Leicester City in 2005 before stops in Barnsley and Preston North End and loan spells with Doncaster Rovers and Fleetwood Town.
He went on to play in Spain for SD Ponferradina and Extremadura UD and in India for Kerala Blasters FC, ATK and FC Pune City.
He first heard of the Indian League from a freelance journalist who passed on a contact. Hume gave the number to his agent, not thinking anything would come from it, and within two weeks he had been drafted by Kerala.
Hume made headlines playing for Barnsley in November 2008, when he was caught by an elbow from Sheffield United's Chris Morgan as both went for a high ball.
Hume was substituted after the collision and was sent home with what the club thought was a concussion. The next day, however, he was talking gibberish and his family took him to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for internal bleeding and a fractured skull.
There was a long recovery period, leaving Hume with a horseshoe-shaped scar from his left ear to the front of his forehead.
He missed the rest of the 2008-09 season and saw little action in the 2009-10 campaign but eventually returned to action and found a new lease of life in soccer.
Hume announced his retirement 14 years to the day after the incident.
"Four years ago today, my life changed. Fortunately, it didn’t end," he wrote. "My amazing family and friends kept me going when things were at their lowest and for that I’m forever grateful. I love you all for being there for me, and I wouldn’t have continued doing what I loved for as long as I did, if it wasn’t for all of you.
"Now that the playing side of my life has ended, I’m now fortunate enough to have moved on to the next chapter," he added.
Just five foot seven, Hume was a bundle of energy on the field, showing his patriotism at times by having the Maple Leaf dyed into his hair.
He was offered the chance to try out for the Scottish under-17 team but chose Canada and went on to make 43 international “A” appearances from 2003 to 2016.
He came off the bench in October 2012 in San Pedro Sula to score Canada's lone goal in an 8-1 drubbing at the hands of Honduras that ended Canada's World Cup qualifying run.
He represented Canada in three cycles of World Cup qualifying and at three Gold Cups.
Hume played more than 600 competitive matches and scored more than 140 goals across both his professional and international career, including 54 goals in 204 career matches in England’s Championship and another 33 goals in 125 career matches in England’s League One.
He scored another 25 goals in 62 career matches in the Indian Super League, winning the 2014 Best Player award and the 2016 Indian Super League Championship. He scored his last competitive goal March 2, 2019, for FC Pune City.
Hume earned his UEFA B Diploma Coaching Award from the Welsh FA in 2020. He plans to enrol in the Canada Soccer Coaching Program in the coming year.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 11, 2022.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press