Western United defender Andrew Durante announced today that he will retire from football at the conclusion of the 2020/21 A-League season.
Durante is one of Australia’s most admirable players, having played 414 Australian National League games including 356 A-League appearances – the most by anyone in the league.
The 39-year-old’s esteemed career has spanned 20 years, beginning at Sydney Olympic in 2001 and included 11 years playing for New Zealand based A-League side Wellington Phoenix before making the switch to Victoria’s Western United.
Durante’s career is highlighted by a National Soccer League title with Sydney Olympic in 2001/02, and an A-League Championship won with Newcastle Jets in the 2007/08 season.
He was awarded the Joe Marston Medal in the 2008 A-League Grand Final as the best player on the pitch.
Durante also holds the record for the most games played for Wellington Phoenix with 273.
“I’ve worked extremely hard to get to this stage in my career and to play 20 years as a pro is not an easy thing to do and I’ve had fantastic support,” Durante said.
“My wife and my kids have been incredibly supportive of my career. My parents – they will probably be the saddest out of everyone realising they won’t get to watch me on the TV anymore. Without those guys, my close family, my brother and my sister, I don’t think I would be where I am today.”
Durante’s announcement comes just days before the team travel to New Zealand to play Wellington Phoenix at Sky Stadium in Wellington.
“I spent the majority of my career there, I played 270-odd games and 11 years at Wellington Phoenix Football Club. I just thought it was fitting to say thank you to them and to the fans there as well.”
Australian Professional Leagues Commissioner Greg O’Rourke was full of praise for Durante.
“Dura has been one of the unsung heroes of Australian professional football for more than two decades, and his retirement will mark the end of an inspiring career,” said Leagues Commissioner Greg O’Rourke.
“He’s a title winner in both the NSL and the A-League, but just as important is the sort of character who teammates and opponents admire and respect. I have no doubt he’ll give everything to go out a winner, and fully deserves the plaudits that will come his way in the next few weeks.”
Western United CEO Chris Pehlivanis praised the legacy of Durante’s career.
“Andrew has been an outstanding leader of our inaugural playing group over the past two years. He has been a leader both on and off the park and played a large role in shaping the club’s values and culture from the beginning,” Pehlivanis said.
“Everyone in the Western United family loves Dura. His teammates, the club employees the partners and the fans. It’s been a privilege to have him part of the green and black.
“We can’t thank him enough for all he’s done and we hope to see him be part of our club in the future.”
Andrew Durante’s Professional Career Timeline
Junior club: Sydney Olympic.
Senior career: 2001–2003 Sydney Olympic, 2003–2004 Parramatta Power, 2004 Balestier Khalsa (Singapore), 2004–2005 Sydney United (NSW), 2006–2008 Newcastle Jets, 2008– 2019 Wellington Phoenix, 2019–2020 Western United.
A-League statistics: Sydney Olympic 53 apps (1 gl), Parramatta Power 5 apps, Newcastle Jets 40 apps, Wellington Phoenix 273 apps (4 gls), Western United 43 apps (2 gls).
Other national league statistics: Balestier Khalsa 13 apps.
Representative honours: New Zealand Senior Team (24 appearances), Schoolboy.