There have been a ton of touching tributes to Bobby around the soccer world. I'm just including a few I've seen, if you've seen other good ones please include them in the comments. I'm sorry to bring up the sad feelings again but I wanted to get this out there.
Steve Hunt has a great remembrance article for FSSouthwest.com
As journalists, one of our prime goals is to above all, always be objective. So, I must admit that in writing something about the unfortunate and untimely passing of former FC Dallas player Bobby Rhine on Monday, it's a bit hard to detach myself from the story.
That's because back in 2006, when I was in my first season as a writer for Major League Soccer's website, it was Rhine who helped me make a seamless transition into a five-year gig of covering FCD.
He brought a smile to everybody’s face and had such a positive influence. We played in the same position my first year, so I learned a lot from him. But I think it was more what he taught me off the field – he taught me a passion for the game. He could really motivate you.
Brad Evans played against Rhine while with the Columbus Crew in 2007 and 2008.
“It’s insane. That’s everybody’s worst nightmare. I remember playing against him my first two years in the league. I remember playing against him in a reserve game in Dallas. We had played the night before and it was sweltering hot and we were getting our butts kicked. He scored from like 45 yards out and that was his game – just power. I just talked to him when we were down there a couple of weeks ago. It’s really sad.”
“He was a person that you just wanted to be around," he said. "You could laugh with him – he was an extremely funny person – but then you could have a conversation that had substance. He was the complete package when it came to a friend. … He was an amazing father, an amazing husband, just an all-around solid, solid human being.”
Kenny Cooper says Bobby is a person he aspires to be like
He was genuinely real, and it wasn’t just sometimes,” Cooper said. “Everyday he’s that person, a genuinely kind person.”
Buzz Carrick of 3rd Degree has Bobby Rhine in his own words
Bobby had very little ego about him, he always spoke of what a privilege it was to play the game of soccer at a professional level, how honored he felt by the respect and admiration of fans and compatriots. He frequently, at least in my opinion, vastly undersold the level of his talent and his contribution to FC Dallas.
Sounder at Heart has Ezra Hendrickson's reaction to the news
"For the whole organization it will be like one of the members of their family has passed .. It is never easy losing someone, who is like a family member it must be really hard on them [the players] and for the organization."
The Hartford Courant remembers Rhine as one of the best former UCONN players
"He was one of the most positive human beings I've ever been around," UConn coach Ray Reid told The Courant Tuesday by phone. "He was a winner, he was loyal, he was old-school, he wasn't entitled. … He was as good a human being as you were going to meet, and that is no exaggeration."
Finally I want to leave you with a story posted on Facebook by my friend Parrish who has achieved legend status for FCD/Burn fans.
In 1996 on a warm April Sunday in Dallas, I attended my first soccer game. Four days later, I attended my second. The reason I came back wasn't because of the gameplay or the action as much as it was for the people around me. A soccer fandom creates a sense of community, a sense of family.
Yesterday, we learned that our community had lost one of its leading luminaries. Former Dallas Burn forward and defender and current FC Dallas broadcaster Bobby Rhine passed away at the incomprehensible age of 35.
Bobby joined the team in 1999, but I mention my first games to demonstrate my path with this team and this man. After those first games, I would continue to come back. Between April 1996 and July 2003, I would miss four home games; once for family reasons, once for work, once for health, and once for a woman. I had chosen to go to business school, and by the grace of God and sweat of my brow had been admitted to the University of Notre Dame. So that day in July 2003 would be my last game, and I didn't know when or if the next would occur. Since then, if I've been able to make three home games a year, I have counted myself lucky.
After that game, an official from the team stopped me in the stands and asked me to wait a minute. The team had signed a jersey and wanted to give it to me as a thank you for my years of support. It was Bobby Rhine that handed the jersey to me. He shook my hand, asked me a couple questions, and smiled as he headed into the locker room. It was not the first time we'd exchanged a gift. A couple years prior I had given him my cowboy hat to commemerate a three-goal performance.
Only the gentle hand of a dear friend on my back kept me from completely breaking down at that point (a moment for which I was always hold you dear). I ran into Bobby again at the post-game pub and we talked a bit more, and a few of the other guys also took an interest. It was sweet, but at the time I thought nothing more of it than a group of amiable young men taking a polite interest in another's moment of joy.
The real kicker was the following summer when I attended a press event for the team. Lots of fans and players were there, and conversations were generally focused on recent games and an announcement made that day. But when Bobby saw me, he reached out a hand, smiled that gregarious grin of his, and asked "How's grad school?" It had been a year since our first and last conversation, but he remembered me and remembered my story. More importantly, he cared. I was awestruck at how gentlemanly he was.
Over the following years, I would run into Bobby about once every year or two. He always asked where I was, what I was doing, he was always happy to see me and share a few minutes. Our last exchange was in November in Toronto. We shared a beer, toasted each other's success and that of the team. It was a bittersweet weekend for a few reasons, and I think I'll always remember it as the last time I saw Bobby alive.
The jersey he gave me remains framed in my bedroom. Last I knew, my hat was on the mantle in his living room. I never really got to know Bobby on a personal level; certainly not as deeply as some of my other friends did, and in retrospect not as deeply as he knew me. For that, I'm sorry. Today I mourn the loss of the man I knew, but also of the man that I failed to know. I don't have a lot of regrets in this life, but I would like to have known Bobby Rhine better.
My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children, and with all who knew him well.