BASSETERRE, St. Kitts & Nevis — After 13 years of international football and more than 60 caps, Atiba Harris announced his retirement from the St. Kitts & Nevis national team following a 2-0 loss to visiting Haiti on Sunday eliminated the Sugar Boyz from the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup.
The FC Dallas standout believes it’s an ideal time for new players to be injected into the side.
“There comes a time when you have to hand over the torch and I feel now is the time that I make a step back and allow the top youth of St. Kitts & Nevis to get an opportunity in the senior team,” said Harris, who, in 2003, became the first Kittitian to sign with a Spanish club joining Cadiz. “We are making strides in football and with the rise we are making, they will certainly flourish.
“My love for my country goes way beyond the field and I’ll forever be grateful to everyone who helped me along the way.”
In the setback to Haiti, St. Kitts & Nevis conceded at home for the first time since a 2-2 draw against El Salvador in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on June 11, 2015. Its FIFA ranking currently sits at a team-high #73 in the world.
The 31-year-old defender/midfielder, however, will still compete at the club level. With FC Dallas squaring off in next year’s Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals against Arabe Unido, Harris still has much to do on the field, but he’s also looking to the future.
“I still plan to play a few more seasons’ club football wise, but I would like to play a role with St. Kitts & Nevis behind the scenes. I want to be involved one way or another,” Harris remarked. “I am sure in time, the St. Kitts & Nevis FA and I will sort out in what capacity. I am a proud ambassador for my country and I plan to continue doing that.”
The former Vancouver Whitecap counts SKN’s 1-0 win Andorra in an international friendly as one of his proudest moments. The triumph was the first by a Caribbean against a UEFA opponent on European soil victory helped St. Kitts and Nevis be the first CFU team to beat a UEFA team on European soil.
“It was a wonderful moment,” finished Harris. “There are many proud moments internationally, but that one was certainly special. It was a tough game in Andorra, but we certainly got our reward from our hard work. I won’t forget that day for sure.”