VETERAN Cebuano goalkeeper Louie Casas retires from professional football after a storied career.

Kaya FC announced on its official website that Casas is walking away from the game to focus on his family in the US.

The 35-year-old Danao City native played competitive club football for close to a decade. He started out with decorated club Ceres-Negros FC in 2013 and stayed there up until 2018 before transferring to Global Cebu FC. After a short stint with Global Cebu FC, Casas moved to Kaya FC-Iloilo and stayed with the club from 2019 up to his recent retirement.

Casas last played for Kaya FC in the Philippines Football League (PFL) Copa Paulino Alcantara 2021, wherein he helped Kaya FC win the cup. Casas was very impressive on the defensive end and didn’t concede a single goal in the tournament, which earned him the “Golden Gloves” trophy.

Casas also played for Kaya FC in the club’s first appearance in the AFC Champions League and two AFC Cup campaigns. He also played for the Philippine national team in 2004 in the Tiger Cup and in the 2018 Bangabandhu Cup.

The departure of Casas will leave a huge gap in the goalkeeper position that he’s held for three years. Backup keeper Zach Banzon should take his spot unless Kaya FC signs another goalkeeper going into their campaign for another stint in the AFC Champions League.

Kaya FC is scheduled to face a yet-to-be-determined club from Australia on March 8, 2022, in the preliminary stage. The winner of the match faces China’s Changchun Yatai FC in the playoff round on March 1. The victor of the playoff round enters the AFC Champions League group stage and joins Group H along with 2021 K-League titleholder Jeonbok Hyundai Motors FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC.

If Kaya FC fails to enter the AFC Champions League, the Iloilo-based club will play in the second-tier AFC Cup. Kaya FC will be playing Group G along with Indonesia’s Bali FC, Malaysia’s Keda Darul Aman FC and the playoff winner between Cambodia’s Visakha FC and Laos’ Young Elephants FC.

Aside from Casas, Marwin Angeles also left Kaya FC in a transfer to Indonesian club Persik Kediri. Kaya FC, however, just recently signed promising defender Mar Diano from the Azkals Development Team.