29-year-old England and Great Britain defender Ben Marsden has announced his decision to retire from international hockey after three and a half years at the highest level.
Ben, who began his international career against Wales in June 2005, earned 46 caps for England and 31 for Great Britain and was part of the GB team who qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and then went on to help secure the highest British finish for a men’s team since the gold-medal winning side in 1988. He has played in two European Cups finishing 6th in 2005 in Leipzig and then 5th in 2007 in Manchester but missed out on any World Cup appearances after being forced to withdraw from the 2006 squad because of an ankle injury sustained in training.
Marsden began his hockey career at Cheltenham before joining Teddington whilst at Brunel University where he gained an honours degree in sports science. He subsequently joined Surbiton where he currently coaches the youth and the ladies first team who have just finished champions of their respective leagues. He also experienced club hockey abroad, playing for Sydney UTC and FC Barcelona.
Marsden said “From playing as a youngster on a windswept pitch in Cheltenham to the Olympics in Beijing, hockey has always been an adventure. Being picked for the England U21’s when I was 19 was a great encouragement. Subsequent club hockey enabled me to win the club Championship with Surbiton followed by a European bronze medal and then to travel the world including playing a season in Australia for Sydney UTC and two seasons in Spain for FC Barcelona where I learned to speak Spanish!”
He describes his eventual call up to the England and GB squads as “an incredible honour. That meant further travel and playing the best teams in the world and the experiences of playing in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and then the Olympics in Beijing meant that the dreams I had as a youngster, were realised.”
He continued “If I was to single out one highlight, it was probably winning the Olympic qualifying group in Chile when we beat India in the final...sheer euphoria! But above and beyond that has been the continual pleasure of working with a great team of coaches and hockey professionals and my fellow players.”
Marsden will not be leaving the game completely and plans to carry on playing as well as continuing with his coaching: “I am hoping now that I can reinvest what I’ve learned, through coaching and inspiring youngsters so that they can have the same opportunities I’ve had and become the great players of tomorrow.”
England and Great Britain Head Coach Jason Lee commented “I think everyone who has been involved with Ben since his first cap in 2005 will miss his presence. He is an incredibly professional and committed player on the pitch and a calming influence off it and is the kind of person that every good team needs to help bond individuals within it. He provided us all with some really funny memories that I expect we will all cherish when we look back over the last four years.”
Source: England Hockey