Central Coast Mariners defender Kalifa Cisse has accepted an academy role with the club, after his contract was terminated "by mutual consent."
Cisse, who has suffered from Achilles Tendinopathy or tenderness of the achilles tendon since joining the Gosford club, will take the role of youth ambassador and community development officer.
Working closely with the club's famed academy, the 35-year-old will also coach the Mariners' u/15 side in their upcoming NPL campaign.
The French-born, Malian international announced his retirement earlier today after a 14-year professional career, spanning Portugal, England, Thailand and the United States.
Best known for his time in the Premier League and Championship with English clubs Reading, Bristol and Derby County, after a bright start to his Central Coast career, Cisse suffered a series of intermittent injuries and inconsistent form leading to today's announcement.
“Working with young players is something I’ve always wanted to do, so this is an exciting opportunity for me,” Cissé said.
“Not only do I want to use my experience to help the young players within the academy, I also want to learn from the coaches who have experience within the Mariners Academy.
“The Mariners are lucky to have some great young defenders coming through. Originally, I signed here to help the players on the field, but at 35 I have made the difficult decision to step out as a player.
"I do not want to stand in the way of these good young players – so for me this is a good decision and will provide these young players with more opportunities to play.
“I’ve been battling the injury since about a month after the season started. For my age, it’s a very complicated thing to fight, so it’s time for me to step aside and let a younger player who is 100% fit to step in and give it their all."