Charleston Battery assistant coach Ian Fuller thought his 15 minutes of fame were over.
Plagued with a multitude of leg injuries throughout his eight-year professional career, Fuller had made the decision to retire after the 2009 season and focus on his burgeoning coaching career.
As recently as two weeks ago, Fuller told members of the media that he "wasn't planning on making a comeback" anytime soon.
"I'm happy being an assistant coach," Fuller said. "My playing days are behind me."
However, faced with back-to-back games for the first time this season and an injury depleted lineup, Charleston head coach Mike Anhaeuser decided to add Fuller to the roster before the team departed for Pennsylvania last weekend.
"We got Ian registered as an insurance policy," Anhaeuser said. "I knew we had back-to-back games and I knew we had some guys a little nicked up, so I wanted to have Ian available if we needed him. I was hoping we wouldn't need him, but I wanted to make sure we had someone if it came to that."
When not running drills during training sessions as an assistant coach, Fuller had been working out on a part-time basis with the team.
"I'm not match-fit, but I have been practicing and running nearly every day," Fuller said. "I didn't think I was going to play this season. I was perfectly happy in my role as an assistant coach, but I knew the team might need me, so I wanted to be prepared."
Fuller came out semi-retirement late in the second half of this past Saturday night's game against Harrisburg. Midfielder Zach Prince, a former College of Charleston star, was ejected from the match in the opening minutes of the second half after receiving a red card for a hard tackle.
Trailing 1-0 with about 15 minutes left in regulation, Fuller entered the game.
"Ian is the kind of player that can change the game with one touch," Anhaeuser said. "Ian's a very dynamic player. He comes in and provides instant energy and can score. I know it has been a while since he played, so I wasn't expecting any miracles."
The fiery Fuller was promptly greeted by a Harrisburg goal when Nick Zimmerman scored with 10 minutes left in the game.
"It was the greatest of circumstances to begin with," Fuller said. "We were down a goal and down a man and then we gave up the second goal a minute after I got onto the field. I would have preferred to comeback under more favorable circumstances."
He was officially credited with 15 minutes of playing time and one foul against the Islanders.
"I don't that's going to turn any heads," Fuller said.
Fuller's return and future playing status were pushed to the forefront when Mark Briggs's contract was voided last week by the U.S. Soccer Federation. Briggs was supposed to provide the Battery with a veteran presence in the midifled.
"Ian's status is still up in the air," Anhaeuser said. "He's going to continue to train, but we're not counting on using him again. But you never know. You get a couple of injuries, a red card and then we might need him to play again."