GENERIC USER - Tuesday, May 18, 2010
United States youth national team product Zach Herold's budding soccer career has come to a halt, as a heart condition has forced the young Toronto FC player to retire from professional soccer.
Herold is a native of Port St. Lucie, Florida and prominently featured on Wilmer Cabrera's Under-17 squad at last fall's U17 World Cup in Nigeria.
The 17-year old was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a condition which causes thickening around parts of the heart muscle where strenous exercise could cause irregular heart rhthyms that are potentially fatal.
Herold released a statement on Monday expressing his sorrow for having to step away from the game but recognizing that his health comes first and foremost.
"Announcing my retirement from soccer at this age is something I never, ever thought would happen to me," Herold said in his statement.
"This news was very hard to take but I know it's the best decision for me and my health."
The condition was noticed by Toronto FC doctors while Herold was undergoing a preseason medical exam.
Herold was drafted in the second round of this year's MLS SuperDraft by the Canadian club where he was the 24th overall selection.