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NYCFC’s Ring announces international retirement

Northern Ireland v Finland - EURO 2016 Qualifier

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 29: Chris Brunt (R) of Northern Ireland and Alexander Ring (L) of Finland during the EURO 2016 Group F qualifier at Windsor Park on March 29, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

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The New York City FC fan base and coaching staff received some good news on Thursday evening: Alexander Ring is retiring from international soccer.

In an Instagram post, Ring called it “an extremely hard decision” but one that he made after two years of constant travelling across the Atlantic Ocean. Ring called an end - at least for now - to playing for his native Finland. According to a quick flight search, a non-stop flight between New York and Helsinki, Finland can take upwards of eight hours, and long travel such as that is not conducive to soccer players staying fit, flexible and healthy.

For New York City FC, this is a big boost knowing that a player still in his prime will be focusing solely on his club and not keeping an eye out for a long trip ahead for international fixtures. Ring started five of six World Cup qualifiers in the last run-up to the World Cup and he retires with 43 caps. Heading into the playoff stretch, Ring will also be better rested than he would be if he left in October to train with and play for Finland.

While every person responds to long-distance travel differently, the decision is a bit peculiar. Ring is still young enough to play a major role for Finland ahead of the 2020 Euros, and his 35-year-old teammate David Villa accepted a rare call-up to Spain’s national team within the last 12 months. In addition, players such as Fred of Manchester United or Davinson Sanchez of Tottenham regularly jet-set across the Atlantic Ocean for their national teams.

Either way, it’s a chance for Ring to extend his career while taking better care of his body.