Whether it is at right back or up top, Bobby Rhine just wants to play. He wants so badly to play that the 5-foot-10, 170-pound player out of the University of Connecticut will even change positions to do it. During his college and professional career, he has played forward and right midfielder, but never right back. However, he believes that under the current coaching staff the right defender position is very similar to the right midfield spot.
"In college I started out as a right midfielder so I have played on the right side," said Rhine. "I think in many ways under the current system we are playing right now, right back is very similar to the right midfield position. The reasons being are that you are encouraged to get forward and asked to get balls into forwards and midfielders through crossings."
Like the chameleon lizard who adapts his color to the surroundings of the environment, Rhine will change the position he has played over the past six years if it helps the team out and earns him more minutes on the pitch. The coaches approached him about playing right defense and Rhine accepted with a smile.
"The coaches approached me about possibly playing at right back and I told them 'Let's see what I can do back there'," said Rhine. "It's a position I have been interested in playing for quite some time."
Known as the best practice player on the team, Rhine desires to have that talent on the training field translate to Saturdays on a consistent and steady basis. He's an intense player and always gives his all on the field, but the good things the coaches see in practice don't always materialize for him come match time.
With that said, he did have two brilliant years in 2001 and 2002 (the last time the team went to the playoffs). In 2001, he collected five goals and seven assists for 17 points despite starting in only 10 matches and in 2002, he recorded seven goals and six assists for 20 points in just 19 starts. One of the more vocal players on the team, he is always encouraging from the sidelines and barking out positive instructions to his teammates when he is playing.
"I think in many ways, when I have been able to start and put a run of games together I've responded and done well with those starts," said Rhine. "If you go back a couple years, I played a lot and had success in those years. In terms of relating good training into good matches, I don't know. What I do know is that when I get the chance to start, I can do the things in matches that I do in training."
During the team's first match in La Manga, Spain, Rhine started at right back and played a solid first half before being subbed out for Philip Salyer. Despite the terrible conditions, he made the smart plays and helped the team defend and keep the ball on the ground with heavy wind gusts swirling. In the team's third match, because of an ankle injury to Cornell Glen, Rhine moved back to the forward position where he helped set up the FC Dallas lone goal on a beautiful pass to Ronnie O'Brien.
"Once Cornell went down with the injury, we had to have another forward and I was that guy," said Rhine. "I think we're still exploring the opportunity to have me play the right back position within the next week or so."
Bobby Rhine will be the first one to tell you that the bottom line is what is best for FC Dallas. Whether he plays forward, right back or sits on the bench, he just wants this team to win. Don't get him wrong though, if he can be a contributing player getting significant minutes, he would be all for it.
"I've told people privately that if I'm a substitute and we're winning the majority of our matches, I have no problem because I'll feel like I'm making the team better from the bench," said Rhine. "However, everybody wants to play and I hope that playing right back is something that develops into more playing time, but I'm for whatever it takes to help the team win."