There’s a lot to like about FC Dallas defender Zach Loyd. He’s an unassuming guy who comes to practice every day, works hard, causes no problems and then goes home.
But FCD supporters might have yet another reason to love this Oklahoma native after last week. That’s because Loyd, who used to wear No. 19, the same digits that Bobby Rhine wore during his playing days, came to Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman about changing his number after learning about Rhine’s untimely death due to a heart attack early last week.
No one who knows Loyd was the least bit surprised by the gesture, especially his head coach.
“What people don’t know is that immediately, [Loyd] came to us and said if you’re looking at potentially retiring his number or me not wearing his number, I support that. He brought it to us and that’s the type of quality players that you want,” Hyndman said. “You want players that think about team first.”
Against New England last Saturday at Gillette Stadium, Loyd flip flopped the digits and sported No. 91 for the 2-0 loss to the Revolution. However, after practice Friday morning at Pizza Hut Park, he was wearing No. 12, digits he figures to sport for the rest of the season.
Always the unassuming type who is as humble as they come, he talked about his decision to switch numbers to honor Rhine.
“Bobby Rhine’s been such a big part of this organization. Even when I came here, I knew of Bobby Rhine. The whole number thing, I respected him as an MLS player,” Loyd said. “Then I got here, just getting to know him as a person, he was a great guy and I felt like to kind of honor his name or pay tribute to him, it was the right thing to do to give up that number. I reversed it to 91 against the Revolution as kind of a tribute to him. Just out of respect, he’s done so much for this organization. He was a great guy and he’s still very missed. He always will be missed. That’s kind of the story behind the number.”
Loyd was a first-round pick, going high in the 2010 MLS Super Draft. And even though Rhine was some two years removed from his last action as a player, the former player turned broadcaster and FCD front office employee was one person who had an immeasurable impact on the ex-North Carolina Tar Heel.
“I wasn’t here [when he was playing] but I knew of him. I paid close attention to the league and when I got here, I heard great things about him,” Loyd recalled. “I definitely looked at him when I got here as a mentor in a way, a great guy who was always positive off the field just whenever I talked to him and we’d talk about the game or anything. I definitely see some similarities between us. Bobby was a great guy and it’s sad he had to go so soon.”