Tampa Bay Rowdies Schedule
Soccer fans in the United States are well aware that the game is on the rise in both
popularity and skill level and could potentially reach the same level of intense competition and popularity that "the beautiful
game" has reached in the rest of the world. The Tampa Bay Rowdies stand as one of the premiere teams in the North American
Soccer League and their 2012 NASL championship win in the Soccer Bowl proved that to be true. After entering the season as
league champions you can be sure that every team in the NASL will be gunning for the Rowdies and that the team will be well
prepared to take the best shot that each opponent has to offer. Games against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers are always thrilling
contests and you can be sure that thousands of Ralph's Mob will be showing up at Al Lang Stadium to cheer on the Rowdies for
that big time showdown. Of course, with a hometown team that has won their league championship there will be plenty of new
fans jumping on the bandwagon and ready to join Ralph Rowdie's mob.
Tampa Bay Rowdies North American Soccer League
it formed in 2009 and first played games in 2011, the North American Soccer League may seem familiar to long time soccer fans.
The league is named after the early soccer league which played from 1968 to 1984. The Tampa Bay Rowdies have been a member
of the current NASL, which features teams in the United States and Canada and is a membe of CONCACAF, since its inception.
Games against the Carolina RailHawks, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, the Puerto Rico Islanders and the Atlanta Silverbacks
provide excellent examples of just how much heart the players of the NASL bring to the pitch each game. While the MLS gets
more attention from the national press, the intensity and skill on display during top NASL matches simply cannot be beat.
Tampa Bay Rowdies Rivalries
As one of only two teams to win the Soccer Bowl and hence the NASL Championship,
the Tampa Bay Rowdies have no shortage of teams looking to knock them down from the top of the heap. Their most heated rivalry,
however, is with in-state rivals the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Each year the two clubs compete for the Florida Derby, and
while the current NASL has few ties to the original league outside its name, both the Rowdies and the Strikers were members
of the previous NASL and their rivalry dates back all the way to 1977 making it one of the oldest soccer rivalries in North
America. In addition to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, the Rowdies possess a rivalry with the NSC Minnesota Stars, the only
other team to win an NASL Championship in the two years since the league began play. Soccer breeds some of the most intense
fans in the world and when the Rowdies take on a rival at home you will see for yourself why Tampa Bay is considered one of
the best soccer cities in all of North America.
Tampa Bay Rowdies History
The Tampa Bay Rowdies first
came into existence in 1975 as an expansion team in the original NASL and immediately were a success. The team was so popular
in the Tampa Bay area that even after the first NASL dissolved in 1984 the Rowdies continued playing in exhibitions, tournaments,
and other leagues all the way through 1993. Finally, in 2008 plans were announced to form a new NASL of which the Rowdies
would be an inaugural member. Tampa Bay has long been a soccer hotbed and one of the best cities in North America to find
fervent soccer fans. The return of the Tampa Bay Rowdies was a welcome addition to the community and the dedicated fans who
had been waiting decades for top notch soccer action to return to the area have made Rowdies games can't miss events. After
winning the NASL Championship at the end of last season home games for the Rowdies have reached a fever pitch and soccer lovers
just cannot get enough of the excitement.
Tampa Bay Rowdies Trivia
After choosing their name in 2008,
the Rowdies were temporarily forced to change their name to FC Tampa Bay after licensing issues with Classic Ink who still
owned merchandising rights to the previous Tampa Bay soccer franchise. Fortunately, that issue was resolved by the time the
second season of NASL play began and Tampa Bay was given back the name of the Rowdies. The early incarnation of the Tampa
Bay Rowdies was burgeoning with international superstars including their captain midfielder Rodney Marsh, and Argentinian
star Oscar Fabbiani who led the league in goals. Al Lang, home of the Rowdies, seats over 7,000 fans and is a former baseball
stadium in which currently the Rowdies are the only tenants. The star on top of the Tampa Bay Rowdies' badge is a reference
and homage to the 1975 Tampa Bay Rowdies team who won an NASL Championship during their first year in the league.