The USL First Division will launch an expansion franchise in Tampa in 2010, marking the fourth time Rowdies soccer has been introduced.
The ownership group includes local
restaurateur David Laxer,
Boston resident Hinds Howard
and Rowdies President and CEO Andrew Nestor
The Rowdies will field their first team in 2010 in the USL First Division. Plans for 2009 include hosting exhibition matches and starting the Tampa Bay
Rowdies Youth Academy.
The club has named Perry Van Der Beck
, who signed for the NASL Rowdies out of high school, as its technical director and
director of community development.
The Rowdies will play in a privately financed stadium to be built in northwest Hillsborough County. ROWDIES 1 * 1975:
The Rowdies joined 19 other teams in the North American Soccer League and were owned by George Strawbridge,
a wealthy Philadelphia businessman whose vision was sparked by the fact that Tampa had no professional sports teams at the time. In that first year, playing in the
old Tampa Stadium, the Rowdies were a huge success on the field, going 16-6 and winning the NASL championship. * 1978:
The Rowdies reached the NASL
championship game, losing, 3-1, to the New York Cosmos. Tampa averaged 18,123 fans a game. * 1979:
Tampa once again finished second in the NASL
championship, losing, 2-1, this time to the Vancouver Whitecaps. * 1980:
Tampa averaged a team-record 28,345 fans per game. * 1984:
Tampa finished 9-15 in what would be the final season of the NASL. ROWDIES 2
became the team's sole owner in 1986. With Rodney Marsh
as the head coach, the Rowdies
played as an independent team for two years, playing many "friendlies" before joining the American Indoor Soccer Association for one season (1986-87). ROWDIES 3 * 1988-93:
The Rowdies joined the third incarnation of the American Soccer League. After six years, the ASL folded.