Cole, who turned 37 last week, made 716 appearances and scored 104 goals for seven clubs and completed his career with Tampa Bay Rowdies in the second-tier United Soccer League.
“After 20 years as a professional, the time has come for me to hang up my boots,” Cole, who came through West Ham United’s youth system, said in a statement. “It has been a dream come true. All of it.
“Whatever is next, I hope the next two decades are as special as my last 20 years as a professional have been.”
He started at West Ham at the age of eight and made 187 appearances, scoring 18 goals, in two spells, from 1998 to 2003 and 2013-14.
He moved across London to Chelsea after West Ham’s relegation from the Premier League in 2003.
Cole won every domestic honor during his time at Chelsea, contributing to the west London club’s first English title in 50 years in 2005 under Jose Mourinho.
A 2 1/2-year spell at Liverpool saw Cole make only 42 appearances, scoring five goals. A season-long return to West Ham was followed by spells at Aston Villa, Coventry and then the Rowdies in Florida.