The Tampa Bay Rowdies, formerly of the NASL, have announced today that starting in 2017 they will begin competing in USL.
“We are excited to join the United Soccer League in 2017. I have said from the day I acquired controlling interest in this club that I wanted to make it one of the most successful teams in North America. The Rowdies’ move to the USL is a positive step toward reaching the long-term goals of the club,” says Rowdies CEO Bill Edwards.
A new journey begins…
— Tampa Bay Rowdies (@TampaBayRowdies) October 25, 2016
The news comes at a time when USL expansion seems to be on the rise with teams in Reno (2017) and Nashville (2018) already announced within the past year.
“With our league headquartered in Tampa, we are pleased to welcome the Rowdies to the USL for next season,” says USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “This allows us to expand our footprint into the Southeast with a storied soccer brand while meeting our key tenets of market size, committed local ownership and stadium development. In Bill Edwards, we have a dedicated local owner who has invested heavily in the team’s stadium, front office and media efforts and is considered one of the marketplace’s top business and forward-thinking leaders. Bill is a renowned philanthropist and has donated significant money for children’s and veterans’ causes.”
— Jake Edwards (@EdwardsUSL) October 25, 2016
Tampa Bay will be the 29th team in the league across 19 states and 3 Canadian provinces. You may remember that earlier this year FC Cincinnati were knocked out of the US Open Cup in the 2nd round by the Rowdies who eventually lost in the next round to Columbus Crew SC. They play their home games on the Tampa waterfront in beautiful Al Lang Stadium where they hope to eventually expand their stadium to 18,000 seats.
At 3 pm this afternoon, the USL announced that the 30th member of the league will be the Ottawa Fury. The Fury recently were members of the NASL. They will be joining the league along with the Tampa Bay Rowdies starting in 2017.
“We’re excited to be joining the fastest-growing soccer league in the world,” said Fury FC President, John Pugh. “The USL’s goal is to be the top second division in the world and we are thrilled to be part of it. Our growing and loyal fan base deserves and can expect a very high caliber of play and tremendous competition. Go Fury Go!”
A new chapter in Ottawa soccer begins…
We're joining the @USL ahead of the 2017 season!
— Ottawa Fury FC (@OttawaFuryFC) October 25, 2016
Stay tuned to USL expansion as more and more rumors are flying around about other teams from NASL, and possible new markets joining USL in the near future. We’ll be discussing all of these developments tonight on Cincinnati Soccer Talk LIVE beginning at 8 PM ET.
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