The 37-year-old is trying his hand at a new sport just months after he retired from professional football
Former Chelsea and Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has decided to come out of retirement – but he’s not returning to the football pitch.
Instead, Cech has signed with ice hockey team Guildford Phoenix, for whom he will make his debut on Friday.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to play with the Phoenix to get match experience,” Cech said in a club press release.
“I hope I can help this young team to achieve their goals for the season and try to win as many games as possible when I have the chance to play.
“After 20 years of professional football this is going to be a wonderful experience for me to play the game I loved to watch and play as a kid.”
The 37-year-old took part in a training session with the Phoenix in August, posting a picture on Instagram of him playing goaltender.
Cech retired from football after last season, having played at Arsenal since 2015 after previously spending 11 seasons with Chelsea.
In June, Cech returned to Chelsea in a technical and performance advisor role, a position in which he offers advice on football and performance matters, while also seeking to build strong links between Chelsea’s first team and the academy set-up.
Following the announcement, many were quick to ask if his new vocation would spell the end of his time on Chelsea’s books.
“Some people seem to think I changed my job. No I didn’t,” Cech said on Twitter. “Luckily my job as the Technical and Performance adviser at Chelsea FC doesn’t stop me in my spare time from playing the game I loved as a kid and which I’ve been playing for years.
“While being [a] professional footballer I couldn’t play the games for obvious reason[s] … now I can.”
Cech is looking to hit the ground running with the Phoenix, whose head coach believes the veteran goalkeeper has been making big strides on the ice.
“We are very excited to have Petr join the Phoenix team and we are looking forward to seeing him in action this weekend,” club head coach Milos Melicherik said.
“He has improved a lot since I first saw him on the ice and I am excited to see him play.”
Cech was born in Plzen, Czechoslovakia, in what is now the Czech Republic. The former Chelsea star has spoken about his love for ice hockey growing up in the past.
“I always wanted to play ice hockey – that was always my first choice,” Cech told Arsenal TVHD three years ago.
“But obviously, at that time, you would have to buy all the equipment so if you imagine the financial aspect of buying all the equipment and you grow up fast as a kid so then you need to keep buying it and we just couldn’t afford it.”