When it was discovered today that Bobby Rhine passed unexpectedly of a heart attack, it hit the greater MLS community fairly hard. Rhine had played 10 years with Dallas and just recently entered the broadcasting field as a rapidly rising star. Fans in Dallas are holding a memorial this evening. His family is asking for donations made in his name to the FC Dallas foundation.
In a league with heavy player turnover it is rare for someone to spend 10 seasons with one team, as Rhine did with the Dallas Burn/FC Dallas. On the opposite end of that spectrum is Sounders Assistant Coach Ezra Hendickson who played with 6 MLS and 3 lower league sides. Ezra only spent 2003 with the Burn, but it was clear from talking to him today at practice that Rhine was able to connect with people quickly and make an impression.
"He's a 35-year-old that we all knew. It was very surprising to hear that [he passed]. I wish all the best to his family. This is so very unfortunate."
From his seasons with the Hunts, he knows that they will do what they can to help Rhine's young family.
"I know the Hunts. I played for them with two different teams, with Dallas and with Columbus and I know they will do they best they can to make sure that everything is in order."
Hendrickson recognized that it will be difficult for the players and coaches, as Rhine was so recently on the pitch and like most broadcasters was at practice frequently.
"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."
Hendrickson ended the conversation with simple words, but there are only so many that can be used in these circumstances. They recognize what is now quite simply shock and sadness.
"It is very surprising. It is very hard to suddenly lose someone like that."