John Heitinga retires

John Heitinga retires

John Heitinga has decided to retire from his professional football career.  Ajax and Heitinga have expressed the intention to enter a new agreement shortly.  Heitinga is expected to focus on coaching for the youth teams, the Ajax Reserves and the A selection.

Heitinga was born on November 15, 1983, in Alphen aan den Rijn.  The player went through Ajax’s entire youth academy.  He made his debut for Ajax on August 26, 2001, in the Feyenoord – Ajax (1-2) match.  He played in a total of 215 official matches for Ajax, scoring 24 times.  With Ajax, Heitinga won the national championship twice (2002, 2004), the KNVB Cup three times ( 2002, 2006, 2007) and the Johan Cruijff Shield four times (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007).  Last season, he played for Hertha BSC in Germany.  Prior to that, he had been active for Atlético Madrid, Everton FC and Fulham FC.  Last summer, he returned to Ajax transfer-free.  He saw action in three official matches this season, scoring once.  This brings his total to 218 official matches for Ajax, with 25 goals scored.  Heitinga has 87 interlands to his name.

Coach Frank de Boer: “John can look back on an fantastic international football career.  The fact that last six months haven’t gone exactly as we had hoped doesn’t take anything away from that.  I’ve agreed with him that he is welcome to continue training with us if he wishes.  He wants to see for himself what it is like to be a coach, and that’s possible for him at Ajax.  We’ll bid him farewell on Sunday, prior to Ajax – Feyenoord.  He’s always been extremely popular with our fans and deserves a fitting farewell in a full Ajax stadium.  In that respect, it’s makes it even nicer that the Classic is on the agenda.”

John Heitinga: “My ultimate wish was to return to Amsterdam and, at the end of the season, to be able to hoist the championship trophy for the fans for the third time.  But in December, I realised that it was time to put an end to my career as a player.  The farewell comes a bit earlier than planned.  But I’ll always be an Ajacied and I am looking forward to this new stage in my life.”