Trinidad’s Birchall retires from international football

Trinidad & Tobago's Christopher Birchall, shown here playing for the LA Galaxy in a 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League game, announced his retirement from international football on August 7, 2013. (Photo: Mexsport)

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago – Christopher Birchall, a member of Trinidad & Tobago’s 2006 World Cup finals squad, announced his retirement from international football on Tuesday after more than eight years with the Soca Warriors.

The midfielder stated in a letter to the Trinidad & Tobago Football Association (TTFA) that he wanted to concentrate on playing for his club, England’s Port Vale.

“It is hard to call it a day but if I have left just one historic memory with the fans then I have achieved much more than I ever dreamed imaginable with the team,” wrote Birchall.  “I have always tried to give 100% on the pitch and give my all for the nation whenever called upon and wear the shirt with pride as I know how many people would die for my opportunity.

“So with pride I announce my international retirement and look forward to seeing future Soca Warriors represent the country under the special guidance of coaches and TTFA president Mr Raymond Tim Kee.”

Birchall made his debut on May 25, 2005, in a friendly international against Bermuda. He went on to win 44 caps and scored four goals.  His last appearance was on July 20, 2013, in a 1-0 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal loss to Mexico, when he entered the match as an 87th minute substitute.

The 29-year-old’s greatest achievement was playing the entire 90 minutes in each of Trinidad’s three games at Germany 2006.  A 0-0 draw with Sweden in its Group B opener secured the Caribbean side its first and only point of the competition.

He also took part in three World Cup qualifying campaigns, appearing in 21 games and scoring one goal.  That tally came in a 1-1 draw against visiting Bahrain in the first leg of a playoff on November 12, 2005, at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.  Trinidad won the second leg, 1-0, in the Middle East four days later to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

Tim Kee thanked Birchall’s for his services to this country: “We at the TTFA, and I speak on behalf of the coaches, his teammates and the local fraternity, take this opportunity to wish Chris the very best for the future and his career at the club level. His services to our country’s national team have been of tremendous significance and played a great role in our thrust forward.”