CARSON -- Chivas USA assistant coach Greg Vanney was in Texas on Friday for his former FC Dallas teammate Bobby Rhine's memorial service. Goats defender Heath Pearce, who played for the Hoops in 2009 and 2010, was there in spirit.
Rhine, 35, who played 10 years for Dallas, then worked in the club's front office and as its broadcaster after retiring in 2008, died Monday from a heart attack while vacationing in Florida.
“Times like these [make it] tough to say there's a plan and a reason for everything, 'cause at this point there just doesn't seem to be an answer for it,” said Pearce, who was rehabbing a hamstring injury Friday at Home Depot Center. “It's devastating. I've had a talk with a lot of the Dallas guys, guys who were even closer to him than me, and a lot of them are really shook up. It's just sad to lose a guy like that in the soccer world.”
Rhine was one of the smartest, most personable and most respected figures in Major League Soccer, and tributes from around American soccer have poured in since FC Dallas announced his death Tuesday.
Pearce offered his.
“Bobby was a great guy,” he said. “Bobby was actually the first guy I told when I got traded [to Chivas in mid-February]. He was on the field that day, and he probably had the kindest words for me of anybody, and he told me what he thought of me as a player and as a person, and it really meant a lot to me. He was actually, probably, the second person I met when I got to the club as well, that first day. He was just a great guy.
“We were discussing this with some of the guys: When someone passes away, people are so quick to say, 'He was a great guy, he was a great guy,' about everybody. But this truly was the case. He was a great guy. From everybody that I know, he was the perfect professional, and I've only known him in his post-career, and he was just a great friend and a great person and a great soccer mind.
“I think is legend live on, not just in Dallas, but around the country. I'm sad to see him go.”