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Former Canadian soccer skipper Paul Stalteri ready to resume career

05/24/2012 12:53 EDT | Updated 07/24/2012 05:12 EDT
Paul Stalteri, Canada's most capped men's soccer player, is healthy again and looking for work.

A year on from the first of two hip surgeries, the 34-year-old fullback has been training with the Borussia Moenchengladbach reserve team. Out of contract with the German side, he says he is ready to resume his career.

"I'm full into everything now," he said of his training. "I'm completely symptom-free, no pain, no problems. ... I'm able to do anything, really. I'm fully fit."

Stalteri has had arthroscopic surgery on both hips, the first late last May and the second in early July. He had an impingement in each hip and surgery was needed to clean out the joint and allow it to move freely and without pain.

"That's where I've gained a lot of my mobility back," he said. "I'm a lot freer down there now than I was before the operation."

His rehab, while long, has gone according to schedule. His English surgeon's original estimate was nine to 12 months to return to full fitness.

The former Canadian captain spent the first nine days on crutches after the first surgery, but just two for the second. Months in the gym followed.

"I have to say that I'm feeling as good as I've felt for a long, long time," he told The Canadian Press from Germany. "I'm sharp, the movements are good. The movements have improved by the week as I've got back into training."

The veteran defender is now out of contract with Moenchengladbach after stints with Werder Bremen, Tottenham and Fulham.

Stalteri has won 84 caps for Canada, most recently in October 2010 in a friendly with Ukraine. That was his last competitive game, since he had fallen out of favour under a new coach at Moenchengladbach.

The native of Brampton, Ont., who now makes his home in Duesseldorf, says his training has proved he can play again "at the top level."

"The search (for a new club) begins now," he said.

"I'd like to play again, that's for sure," he added. "But there comes a time where you also think about what's after football. But first and foremost, I'm aiming at definitely playing again ... As strength and conditioning goes, I'm at strong as I've ever been and as powerful as I've ever been because you're living in the gym, doing more and more work and you're able to do more and more work because the flexibility is there."

Stalteri says he is open as to where he might play, although family will play a role in deciding. He is married with two young kids — six and three.

"I'm not going to sit here and say it has to be in a certain country or not, but obviously it's got to make sense for myself and my family and it's got to be a situation where it's a new challenge and something you're looking forward to every day and you want to get to work and do the job.

"That something we're looking for right now and hopefully we can find that."

Whatever happens, he hopes to stay in soccer — on or off the field.

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