After spending much of the offseason debating whether to return to the Rhinos for the 2006 season, captain and defender Scott Schweitzer has decided to retire and concentrate on his youth academy in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina.
This is the second retirement of a veteran leader of the Rhinos over the past few weeks. In late February, defensive midfielder Rene Rivas also decided to retire as a player.
This latest move should increase the pressure on the Rhinos to try and re-sign Craig Demmin. There are still questions about Craig's health, but with Rivas and now Schweitzer leaving the Rhinos central defense, Rochester needs a veteran to run things as bad as ever.
As of today, Craig had yet to sign with a new club. Hopefully he Rhinos can get the lines of communication back up and running. And perhaps they will reconsider taking Craig up on his offer that he would rip up a contract if he was unable to play due to the knee injury that sidelined him most of last season.
What's next for Scott Schweitzer? While he is currently working on developing a youth academy, I wouldn't be shocked if Schweitzer were named to a post with the 2007 USL 1st Division expansion club in Cary, NC that is being run by former Rhinos GM Chris Economides. Scott played at NC State, played for the A-League's Carolina Dynamo, and now has a youth academy in the area, so he has strong ties to the area. He obviously has leadership qualities and a strong interest in coaching. And he has a longstanding relationship with Economides. Add in the fact that Scott was at the press conference announcing the new team and I don't think it's a stretch to guess that Schweitzer very well could be the first head coach in the team's history.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author's, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.