NASL team Ottawa Fury FC announced today that they have signed forward Thomas Stewart from Sacramento Republic FC. The Republic has not yet made an announcement regarding the move, which has been rumored to be coming for a few days. A perennial fan favorite, Stewart finishes his Republic career with 20 goals scored in all competitions over three seasons, second only to Rodrigo Lopez on the all-time scoring charts.
Originally from Northern Ireland, Stewart previously played for Shamrock Rovers FC where he scored 11 goals in 42 matches. Signing with the Republic in 2014, Stewart appeared in 28 matches and led the team in scoring with 11 league goals in the championship season. He was less impactful in the 2015 season, appearing in 17 league matches but only scoring three goals.
Some memorable moments from Stewart’s time in Sacramento include scoring the club's first ever hat trick in 2014 against Orange County Blues FC, one that came in an astounding 29 minutes.
Stewart also scored the final goal in the 2014 championship game to secure the Republic’s first ever trophy.
Stewart didn’t seem to have a place in Head Coach Paul Buckle’s system, which resulted in only a single goal in 11 appearances this season. Younger players, such as Cameron Iwasa and Harry Williams, have seen more playing time lately and seem to be Buckle’s go-to forwards. Stewart last played for the Republic on June 25th against Arizona United FC, coming on as a sub in the 69th minute. He has not even made an appearance on the bench in the past three matches.
Ottawa Fury Head Coach Paul Dalglish said in the club's press release that he expects that Stewart will help bolster the Fury’s attack for the fall season. "I know him very well from my time in the USL and when I was there he was probably the best striker in the league," he said. "He scored everywhere he played and he's a very exciting player."
Though Stewart's move away from the Republic will be difficult for some fans to accept, the jump to a second division team could be a step forward for Stewart, one that revitalizes his career.
Keep track of Thomas Stewart’s future exploits by looking for Indomitable City Soccer’s Republic Alumni Report. Please let us know what you think of the Republic transferring Thomas Stewart to Ottawa in the comments below.