FRISCO, Texas – BR19; two letters and numbers that carry so much meaning within FC Dallas. They embody hard work, dedication, care, love, but pain and sadness, too.
It’s been 12 years since Bobby Rhine unexpectedly passed away. He was an FC Dallas club legend like no one before him—and likely no one since.
It wasn’t the 212 games he played. Nor the 23 goals he scored. Those things help, but his legend comes from who he was. A one-club man who always made time for the fans. A man who joined FCD’s front office as manager of community engagement after his playing days were over. A man who was the voice of the club as its play-by-play commentator at the time of his tragic death.
No one else can be what Bobby was for this club. His legacy is unique. But we can honor his memory, so fans who didn’t watch or know him can at least come to understand BR19.
Paxton Pomykal, a Homegrown player in every sense of the term, has honored that legacy ever since becoming a professional. With the approval of the Bobby’s family, Pomykal wears his iconic No. 19 jersey.
“I’m a guy that’s always loved this club from day one. And that includes guys like Bobby, guys like Fernando (Clavijo),” Pomykal said. “You stand out there for the Starting XI, you see the BR19, you see Fernando’s name. Guys like that are so important to me.
“I always feel like there’s room for improvement, so I’m not going to sit here and say that I’ve lived up to his legacy. That’s not what I’m trying to do, I’m trying to honor his name and make a name for myself as well, for his legacy and for his number. I think I can do better, always, but I feel like I’m doing everything I can to honor him.”
The FC Dallas supporters, with whom Bobby always had a special connection, named their new seating section “The Rhine” in his honor.
“The supporters naming it after him just shows how much he means to this club,” Pomykal said. “The fans are the most important thing to the players, we want to put a go show on for them and perform for them and create a relationship with them—not only on the field but off the field too, and Bobby did that.
“I know he’d be really excited that they honored him in that way. And someday maybe the fans will love me that much. But to come out every day and play on this beautiful field, and to see the BR19 sign and supporters’ cheer the way they do, it makes me really happy.”
Bobby was a leader, and in some ways he still is. His memory is an inspiration to everyone around the club today. And his example is something Pomykal continues to work towards.
“I know he definitely was a leader, not only for the team but for the club as well,” he said. “The way he played, you can just tell he was a leader on the field and I saw that in the stands as a kid. I’ve tried to come into that role as I’ve gotten older with the team. Naturally, I think I lead more by example but I’m trying to be more vocal and be that guy for the locker room and help out in a similar way to him. I’m not saying I’m trying to mirror him in any way, but he’s someone I definitely look up to.”
More about the BR19 legacy HERE