Kitcho huge loss to Knights
BEING from one of Ipswich's most famous sporting families, Shaun "Kitcho" Kitching was always going to be a quality footballer.
However, retiring on his 27th birthday is sure to surprise many people.
The popular footballer has decided to spend more time with his young family.
"I'm only 27 but I thought it was a good time," Kitching said of his decision to hang up the boots.
"I started playing when I was four and haven't had a season off since then.
"If I didn't have two kids, I definitely would still be playing but it's taking up a lot of my time and I thought it's a good time to spend a bit more time with them."
Shaun and wife Ashlee have a four-year-old son Cooper and one-year-old daughter Scarlett.
Ironically, Cooper has just started playing with the Knights minis (under-5s) this year.
While keen to help Cooper along, dad Shaun won't miss training twice a week.
"It was a tough decision but it's good to go out on my own terms," Shaun said, having played some of his best football in recent weeks.
With the Knights tackling Moggill at Bellbowrie Sports Complex tonight, head coach Ashley Hempstead said Kitching would be a huge loss.
"He's one of my type of players that rolls his sleeves up and gets stuck in," Hempstead said.
"He's got a bit of bite to his game and he will be a blow."
Whether Kitching returns in the future will depend on how much he misses the game and his family priorities.
However, he'll be remembered as one of Ipswich's toughest and hardest working midfielders.
Kitcho thrived on physical encounters and had the skills to hold his own at Premier League level.
Playing for the Ipswich Invitational side against one of his favourite teams - A-League champions Brisbane Roar - was up with his major achievements.
"There's been a lot of highlights," Kitching said.
"From the junior perspective, winning three grand finals in a row with Coalstars in Division 1.
"As a senior, when we got promoted from Div 1 to Premier League (in 2006)."
Kitching, who works for QR National, said he enjoyed playing for all three Ipswich clubs.
"We're all one big family really and we're all good mates and we all love the game," he said, having had short stints with Ipswich City and Western Spirit.
"I've got a little boy and we'll still be coming down and supporting all the teams, especially the Knights and cheering them on. That aspect I definitely won't miss."
Kitching's only season away from Ipswich was when he lined up for Taringa Rovers.
"It was good to play Premier League but it didn't have the same feel as Ipswich did," Kitching said.
"After the game, there wasn't many people in the clubhouse and they weren't really as close-knit as Ipswich teams are.
"They're all a good bunch of blokes across all three clubs and they're all good for a laugh.
"That's the best thing about playing football in Ipswich I think."
The Brassall-based sportsman follows Birmingham City and rates Roar scoring ace Thomas Broich his favourite player. That ties in with a quote he admires: "A good player never loses the ball. An exceptional player takes risks."
Without having to train for 17 more matches this season, Kitching is looking forward to holidays, fishing and going to the beach with his kids.
"And I'll definitely be staying in the football community in some way, whether it's coaching or being a spectator," he said.
"I won't be leaving it behind. I love it too much."
'It was a tough decision but it's good to go out on my own terms'