Eight years after the Tampa Bay Mutiny folded and 16 years after the demise of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, professional soccer is expected to return to Tampa next spring with the arrival of a United Soccer Leagues First Division club, write Bill Ward and Mike Salinero.
They quote the team's spokeswoman Lisa Brock as saying a news conference to unveil the team is scheduled for Thursday at Raymond James Stadium. "Brock declined to confirm any details about the name of the new club, but it is expected to be called the Rowdies, use the same green and gold colors for its uniform and draw some of the same management that was with the Mutiny."
Brock said the new club's owners are looking to build a new soccer stadium in northwest Tampa, and so there is "not necessarily" a connection between the new team and Hillsborough County commissioners' limited approval Wednesday to a new $15 million soccer complex and stadium at an as yet undetermined site. The USL's head office is also in Tampa. USL's Senior Director of Franchise Development Matt Weibe said that the typical operating budget for a USL1 team is $1.2 million-$1.5 million. The franchise fee is $350,000, but increases to $750,000 on Aug. 15. A USL1 club must also have a line of credit worth $500,000.