‘Hometown hero’: Republic FC’s Cameron Iwasa retires


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Saturday night the Sacramento Republic Football Club finished up their eighth season here in Sacramento, but it also marked the end of a career for forward Cameron Iwasa.

The Sacramento local played professionally for seven seasons, six of which were extremely productive —during two separate stints with the Republic.

The club has yet to retire anyone’s jersey in their brief history, but Iwasa — no question — should be the first.

“In this business, the one downside is there is not really any stability,” Iwasa said. “It’s a year-to-year thing, and I just wanted to be ahead of the curve of being able to get myself settled down into a more steady, stable income.”

At 28, Iwasa will be getting married in a month. He and his fiancée are hoping to start a family soon, and he has a college degree to fall back on.

He’ll miss playing a game he has loved almost his entire life.

“But the reality is, guys in this league, in general, are not making money you can retire on,” Iwasa said. “Almost pretty much everyone who plays in this league will have to get another job whenever they’re done playing.”

It’s a harsh reality of professional sports — chasing a dream.

Iwasa was close to playing in Major League Soccer, having signed with Kansas City in 2017, when an injury sidelined him before he played a single game.

“So, I was glad I got to taste it at least. It certainly wasn’t what I’d hoped it would have been, but ultimately it wasn’t something that I regret because it brought me back here, and when I got back I had the two best seasons of my career,” Iwasa said.

Iwasa thrived in his return home, scoring 17 goals each in his first two seasons back with the Republic.

Republic’s defender Shannon Gomez considers Iwasa a hometown hero.

“Cam got the opportunities he wanted. Got to go to MLS and got a taste of that,” Gomez said. “Obviously, it happened just the way it happened for him, for him to come back home and play, and to be the hometown hero, and to break the record.”

Iwasa leaves the game as the Republic’s all-time leader in goals and assists. He also scored his 60th career goal in the Republic’s season finale last night.

He couldn’t have scripted his farewell any better.

“Seven years later I’m standing here with a lot to be proud of, especially considering the fact that I never really thought it was a possibility,” Iwasa said. “I struggle to find the words to express how grateful I am and how awesome it’s been throughout the past seven seasons and it’s just been great.”

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