Petr Cech is trading grass for ice.
The former Arsenal and Chelsea goalkeeper, who retired from an illustrious soccer career at the end of last season, said Wednesday his surprise plans to join Guildford Phoenix, an English hockey team. The Phoenix play in the United Kingdom’s top flight, and according to the BBC, Cech will serve as the team’s third-string goalie.
“After 20 years of professional football this is going to be a wonderful experience for me to play the game I loved to play and watch as a kid,” Cech said in a team statement.
The Czech shot-stopper, who currently works as the Technical and Performance Adviser at Chelsea, clarified on Twitter that his fledgling hockey career will not get in the way of his coaching duties.
“Some people seem to think I’ve changed my job,” he said. “No I didn’t.
“While being a professional footballer I couldn’t play the game for obvious reasons. Now I can.”
In his 20-year career, Cech won four Premier League titles, one Champions League crown and featured 124 times in net for the Czech Republic.
He also played in the 2006 World Cup.
Despite Cech’s lengthy hockey layoff, Guildford head coach Andy Hemmings said he is excited for him to hit the ground running.
“The signing of Petr is massive for the Phoenix, he is a great guy who trains hard, and I cannot wait to see him make his debut,” he said.