Two-time A-League champion and PFA Executive Member Nikolai Topor-Stanley has announced his retirement from professional football, with the defender to hang up the boots at the conclusion of Western United’s 2022/23 campaign.

The 38-year-old has enjoyed a 17 year career in the A-League, following his debut with Sydney FC in 2006, with the central defender also featuring for Perth Glory, Newcastle Jets, Western Sydney Wanderers – where he captained the red and black to the AFC Champions League in 2014 – and Western United.

Topor-Stanley is second on the all-time appearances list in the A-League Men, with 379 appearances – one game less than Melbourne Victory’s Leigh Broxham.

“I’m immensely proud and grateful for the life football has given me. It’s allowed me to travel the world, given me perspective, allowed me to develop character I never knew possible, and most importantly led me to meet my wife and have a family,” Topor-Stanley said upon announcing his retirement.

“I’ve come to terms with retirement as it’s something that I’ve been contemplating for a few months now, so I’m at peace with my decision.

“It would be remiss of me to not acknowledge all the people that I’ve encountered that have helped me become the man I am today. To all of you, thank you.”

Topor-Stanley was named in the PFA Team of the Season on three occasions (2009/10, 2012/13 and 2015/16) and won two A-Leagues winner’s medals (Western Sydney Wanderers 2012/12 and Western United (2022).

Along with his significant contribution to the game in Australia, Topor-Stanely has served his fellow professionals in his role on the PFA Executive since 2016.

During that time Topor-Stanley has been directly involved in several transformational Collective Bargaining Agreements for the A-Leagues and Australia’s National Teams – which has helped drive the professionalism of the leagues and the Socceroos and Matildas.

In an interview on the ‘keys to longevity’ when he approached his 350th appearance in 2022, Topor-Stanley recounted the importance of players fighting for better professionalism in football.

“It’s easy to take a career in Australian football for granted. But the conditions that we have as Australian footballers are up there with the best in the world.

“It’s easy to forget the shit that past generations had to go through to get basic conditions. The amount of work, phone calls, hours and lobbying required to actually achieve a desirable outcome for the wider playing group, is insane.

“Having been involved with it on the PFA Executive, I know what it takes. The world class conditions we have aren’t through luck or charity. 

“No one is going out of our way to put these conditions and standards in place, aside from the players and the people at the PFA who are advocating on our behalf.”

Through his role off the pitch, Topor-Stanley has always shone a light on the experience of being a professional footballer via the PFA.

He has shared his experiences via a 2016 documentary with Local FC, was an ambassador for Movember’s 2018 campaign ‘Talking when times get tough‘ and has helped anti-racism initiative Reflect Forward through his own experience and reflections on racism in Australian sport and society.