It seems somewhat illogical that we as sports fans become so attached to teams and players. Even in a transaction-heavy environment like professional sports we fervently support without regard to the possibility that a fan-favorite could become a former favorite within the blink of an eye.
Unfortunately, the Sacramento region knows this fact all too well at the moment. Aside from the noteworthy player move made by Sacramento’s other professional sports franchise, the signing of Cameron Iwasa by MLS’s Sporting Kansas City stands as the most impactful change made so far this year to the area’s fandom landscape.
I suppose it warrants a mention that Iwasa was my favorite member of the Republic. While I am happy to see him pursue success at a higher level, it is certainly a bummer to lose a favorite player.
Could one really blame me for having this point of view given that Cam was born in raised in same city as the team he represented? Even setting aside his geographical relevance for a moment, the club-record 12 regular season goals he poured in last season endeared him to the fans. It certainly had the Tower Bridge Battalion singing his praises. It seems a pretty fair assumption to me that without his production, the Republic’s season might have gone quite differently.
Iwasa signed with the Republic in 2015 after being selected by — but not signing with — the Montreal Impact in the MLS SuperDraft. While only appearing in 17 regular season matches his rookie season, the pace and energy he brought to the pitch was self-evident even if the production (1 goal, 1 assist) was not as of yet. The following season would see that potential production realized as playing time opened up.
In 2016, Iwasa made an appearances in all 30 regular season matches and started 27. In that time he scored a team-record 12 times and notched three assists. His aggression and pace aided in countless other attacks that did not finish in the opponent’s net. He was the heart and soul of the attacking core. Very rarely does a hometown product perform at such stellar levels and so greatly influence the successes of their hometown team.
Seemingly, just as soon as Cam’s light began to shine in Sacramento, it was noticed by a club with deeper pockets and a bigger stage to offer. As a Sacramentan and a Republic fan, I wish nothing but success for our departed scoring dynamo and hope the Republic can learn to adjust to life without Cam.