The American soccer community was left stunned on Tuesday by the news of the passing of former MLS player and FC Dallas broadcaster Bobby Rhine.
A 10-year veteran of MLS between 1999 and 2008 and a fixture of the Dallas soccer scene, Rhine passed away on Monday night at the age of 35.
“Bobby Rhine’s sudden passing is a true loss,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Rhine family and FC Dallas organization. Bobby was a very special person whose love of the game and upbeat personality were infectious. He will be missed by the entire MLS family.”
"The FC Dallas family is shocked and saddened by the passing of Bobby Rhine," said Clark Hunt, chairman of Hunt Sports Group, owners of FC Dallas. "From the early days at the Cotton Bowl with the Dallas Burn, through the transition to FC Dallas and Pizza Hut Park, Bobby was one of the most respected and beloved figures in club history."
The play-by-play man for FC Dallas, who was a first-round SuperDraft selection back in 1999, was not on broadcast duty this weekend given the club was idle over the Labor Day holiday due to a break in the league schedule for FIFA fixture dates.
An active user of Twitter, Rhine’s last tweet was dated August 31: “1st weekend w/o a telecast since April 8th. Going off the grid for some beach time. Cup full of seeyoulaterade.”
It was his public position as a the club’s broadcaster – he won the MLSsoccer.com “Call of the Year” for 2010 – and his work in the community on behalf of FC Dallas that led FC Dallas president Doug Quinn to call Rhine the “face of our club.”
“It is an extremely sad day in the history of FC Dallas,” said Doug Quinn, president and CEO of FC Dallas. “Everyone connected with FC Dallas has been affected by this tragic news and we wish to send our heartfelt condolences to Bobby’s family.”
Rhine played a total of 212 matches for Dallas, logging more than 12,000 minutes and scoring 23 goals over a decade of service. His 34 career assists rank fourth for the most in club history.
“I had the pleasure of coaching him during his time as a player and Bobby always gave his all to FC Dallas,” said manager Schellas Hyndman. “He brought a daily smile and an unmatched passion and love for the club and his teammates.”
FC Dallas are currently finalizing plans to pay tribute to Rhine this season with details of a memorial service yet to be released.
The FC Dallas Foundation is now accepting donations in memory of Bobby Rhine, former FC Dallas player and broadcaster. To make a donation in Rhine's honor, click here.