Thomas Stewart was the first leading scorer for Sacramento Republic FC, finishing the 2014 season with 11 goals to lead the club. The Northern Irish striker had bounced around between the Northern Irish league, the League of Ireland and Scottish soccer before joining the expansion side in California.
Stewart had almost moved stateside several years earlier, with an agreed move to former NASL side Carolina RailHawks (now USL Championship side North Carolina FC), but that move never materialized.
No matter, as he won a domestic double at Linfield, a League of Ireland Cup with Derry City and a League of Ireland title with Shamrock Rovers before coming to Sacramento in 2014, and his run of trophy-winning continued with Sac Republic’s USL Cup win that year.
He stayed in Sacramento two and a half seasons, before moving to Ottawa Fury in the summer of 2016. In his time with SRFC, Stewart scored 15 league goals in 46 games, and scored an additional six goals in the U.S. Open Cup.
*Warning: The backing track to this video includes some swearing
After his half-season with Ottawa, Stewart returned to Europe, signing with Dundalk in 2017. He won a domestic treble, helping Dundalk qualify for the Champions League qualifiers, that season.
Then in 2018, he moved again, to Northern Irish club Larne and won the 2018-19 league title, before his contract was ended in September.
Stewart is now 33, and given the current climate, it’s unclear if he was working to continue his playing career or not before the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports.
But the former Northern Irish youth international carved out a rather successful career for himself. A big man who could get physical and make the plays needed to get the ball in the net, Stewart found his most individually successful stint with Sacramento, but he was a contributor on a lot of title-winning teams over the years. Some of that was likely due to a measure of luck but perhaps it’s true what they say: Winning is a habit. Tommy Stewart laid a marker down to start off Sacramento Republic’s first season, and has literally written his name in the history books for good as the team’s first season scoring champ, while also delivering silverware in year one. That’s a pretty good legacy.
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