After giving much of his life to the game of soccer — Rob Vincent knew this time would come — but was hoping it wouldn’t come so suddenly.
On Monday, via Twitter, former Riverhounds standout who played with the club from 2013 to 2015 before moving on with DC United, where he played in 2016 and an injury riddled 2017, announced his retirement at age 27.
When Vincent’s contract was purchased from DC United, I wrote this tribute to his contributions in Pittsburgh.
Only a few days ago, I had a chance to speak with the Liverpool, England native about some of his fondest memories with the Hounds — among some of his favorite career moments came in 2015 when he scored 22 goals in all competitions.
“Soccer is a game of moments. In the early stages of the (2015) season, particularly in the home opener we capitalized on certain moments. That gave us the confidence to kick on,” Vincent said.
“Remember, we had started the previous two seasons very slowly, so all of a sudden there was an optimism around the place. And tie that in with the freedom coach Mark (Steffens) was giving us, it created a perfect environment for not just us, but the whole team. (Kevin Kerr) and I just happened to be the two players getting on the score sheet. It was a lot of fun though. Probably the most enjoyable period of my career, and maybe Kevin would agree with that.”
In 2016, Vincent made a sparkling return to the Hounds on a one-game loan — and scored the lone goal in a 2-1 loss to Charleston.
After an injury riddled 2017 which included suffering a blot clot following knee surgery, Vincent sat out most of the season, with only a few early season appearances. After DCU did not pick up his option on his contract for 2018 last December, he was invited to the MLS club’s preseason camp as a non-signed invitee. After the first week of camp, and spending more time with the trainers than on the field, Vincent was released.
That immediately followed a lot of speculation that Vincent would have a chance to return to the Hounds, but he had to come to grips with the fact that his knee may never fully recover.
Here’s some of the immediate reaction to Vincent’s announcement among Pittsburgh fans and those of us who followed him closely.
Here’s Steel Army singing “We can’t get enough” tribute song in Vincent’s honor.