HARD-WORKING Phoenix midfielder Tim Brown is set to call time on his soccer career.
Brown, 31, shocked his Wellington teammates when he told them of his decision to call it quits once the A-League season is over.
One of only a handful of players to play 100 games for the club, English-born Brown - who joined the Phoenix from the Newcastle Jets - has also played 25 times for the All Whites.
Brown is retiring from all soccer to take up an opportunity to study for a masters in management at either the London School of Economics or Cambridge University.
"It was an emotional decision to make, but an exciting one for me," said Brown.
"The opportunity to continue my studies at either of those places is fantastic.
"It was tough making the decision to leave what has been a dream job but I believe it is the right time for me."
The Phoenix head into Friday night's elimination final against Sydney FC with a psychological advantage. But they will also be wary of Sydney, who struggled for much of the season and only sealed their place in the play-offs with Sunday's nail-biting 3-2 home win over Newcastle Jets.
With three wins, including two at home, over Sydney this season, the Phoenix will fancy their chances. But they will look for something better than they managed for long periods in Sunday's game which they needed to win by three goals to edge ahead of Perth.
With all four goals in a 4-2 victory over the hapless Melbourne Victory on Saturday, Shane Smeltz became the leading scorer in A-League history. The win confirmed Perth Glory in third place with a home eliminator with Melbourne Heart next Sunday.