Harrisburg City Islanders News Release -- www.cityislanders.com
Friday, September 7, 2012
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Harrisburg City Islanders veteran defender Dustin Bixler announced his retirement from professional soccer on Friday.
A standout at Red Land High School, he earned conference and district all-star recognitions as a Patriot. Bixler continued his youth career at Lock Haven University, earning PSAC All-Conference honors for three consecutive seasons (2002-2004). He also received numerous awards such as NCAA Division II All-Northeast Region First Team in 2003 and 2004. In his senior season, Bixler was named PSAC's Conference Player of the Year and his team's MVP.
“The Harrisburg City Islanders have been my summer family for the last eight years," Bixler said. "Unfortunately being a player can not last forever and Hanging up my boots may be the hardest decision I have ever had to make so far. I have had some great experiences and also some I wish I could forget but as I retire I cannot thank the front office, coaching staff, players, and of course the fans for all the great times we have had together over the last eight years.
"Good Luck in the future, boys, and I will see everyone on the Island next year.”
In 2005, Bixler began his professional career, signing with the Harrisburg City Islanders. In 2007, Bixler led the Islanders' defense to winning the 2007 USL Second Division Championship, being named the match's MVP. He also received an honorable mention nod as one of USL's 15 Most Influential USL Second Division's players of the last decade.
“Dustin has been a mainstay in the back for us since his rookie year in 2005," said City Islanders coach Bill Becher. "He had an incredible career with the Islanders including three all-league selections and in 2007 was named the Championship game MVP. He was instrumental to our success the past eight years and we appreciate the professionalism he brought every day. I wish Dustin all the best as he moves forward, and will always remember his contributions to the Islanders.”
In 2008, Bixler scored his first and only career goal in a 2-1 win over the Charleston Battery. In addition to his two All-League First Team selections, he was also a finalist in the 2009 USL Second Division Defender of the Year Award. Bixler retires as one the most dominant defenders in USL PRO, known for breaking down and stopping opponent's main offensive targets.
“Dustin was the consummate professional who is as big a part of the HCI's successes as anyone," said City Islanders majority owner Eric Pettis. "We won the championship in 2007 because Dustin and [goalkeeper] Matt Nelson refused for us to lose. There is no one player that can match the contributions that Dustin gave to our club. To say that we will miss him is an understatement. We wish him and Sarah the best of luck in their future endeavors now that he is a part of this team intro perpetuity.”
Bixler retires as the City Islanders' all-time leader in minutes played (10,708) and second in appearances (122). He is currently the boys’ varsity soccer head coach at Cedar Crest High School and continues to coach with the Falcon Futbol Club U12 and U16 Teams. He and his wife Sarah live in Dover.
The team concluded their 2012 campaign in the quarterfinals of the USL PRO Playoffs with a record of 10-8-7. The Isles return to the pitch in April of 2013, where they will be celebrating their 10th Anniversary Season. For more information or to purchase tickets for the upcoming season, visit www.cityislanders.com or call 717-441-GOAL.