Julio Arca, who played a major part in South Shields` rise through the non-League Pyramid and promotion as champions of the Evo-Stik League North this past season, has decided to retire from football with immediate effect.
The move brings an end to the 37-year-old’s illustrious career, which included spells at Sunderland and Middlesbrough before a trophy-laden three years with Shields.
He has opted to retire in order to spend more time with his young family, as the travel, match, and training commitments are becoming more challenging.
The club do remain in discussions with him as to a potential non-playing role.
Arca joined the Mariners in September 2015, and has won three league titles, three promotions and six trophies during his time with the club.
Club chairman Geoff Thompson told the club`s official website: “Julio has been an inspirational figure since joining the club almost three years ago.
“He has played a key role in transforming the club’s fortunes and provided some unforgettable moments, and we cannot thank him enough for his incredible efforts.
“Everyone at the club hoped he would be able to continue his playing career for one more year, but we are fully respectful of his decision, which has been made for family reasons.
“He ends his playing days having won a league title in each of his three seasons here and departs with his powers undimmed.
“He leaves while at the top having just won a league title as captain, which not many are fortunate enough to say.
“We are in discussions with Julio as to a future role and very much hope we can find a resolution so that he can continue to benefit the club with his expertise in an off the field capacity.
“It goes without saying that he and his family will always be welcome at Mariners Park”.