Germany midfielder Kerstin Garefrekes has ended her ten-year international career after two world and European titles in order to concentrate on her job and club football.
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Kerstin Garefrekes has become the latest Germany player to retire from international football, following in the footsteps of Birgit Prinz, Ariane Hingst and Ursula Holl.
Unlike that trio, the 31-year-old midfielder started throughout Germany's run to the FIFA Women's World Cup quarter-finals, taking over the captaincy when Prinz was dropped. However, she has now opted to concentrate on playing for UEFA Women's Champions League contenders 1. FFC Frankfurt and her career in city government.
"It was no easy decision for me," Garefrekes said. "I have had lots of thoughts but have now come to the decision that it is the right moment to retire from the Germany team after the home World Cup. I now want to further my career step by step while at the same time continuing to play for 1. FFC Frankfurt."
In her ten-year international career, Garefrekes earned 130 caps and scored 43 goals, including two in the recent World Cup. She was part of the Germany teams that won the World Cup in 2003 and 2007, also claiming two UEFA European Women's Championship titles and a pair of Olympic bronze medals. At club level, since joining Frankfurt from FFC Heike Rheine in 2004, Garefrekes has won two UEFA Women's Cups and three German titles.
Germany coach Silvia Neid said: "Kerstin was an important player for us for many years. She ran a lot, helped out in defence and attacked a lot, scored important goals and has continuously performed well. But I can of course understand that she wants to commit more and more to her job and has other priorities now. I wish her all the best for that."
Neid's side begin their bid for a sixth straight European title when they welcome Switzerland to Augsburg in Group 2 on 17 September. Frankfurt, meanwhile, open their UEFA Women's Champions League campaign in the round of 32 against Stabæk Football, visiting Norway on 28 September with the return on 5 October.