Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Compromise allows new Tampa Bay Rowdies to play in 2010

TAMPA — The new Tampa Bay Rowdies professional soccer team overcame a major hurdle to playing this year when the U.S. Soccer Federation on Thursday announced a compromise between feuding Division II leagues.

The Rowdies still have yet to announce a new stadium plan or introduce players. (Team president Andrew Nestor said both will occur this month.) But at least the new franchise has a league to call home for 2010.

"All sides agreed that we had to play in 2010," Nestor said. "It's too important not to for all markets and for the sport in general."

When the Rowdies were introduced nearly two years ago, it was as a member of the United Soccer League's First Division. But in November, Tampa Bay joined a group of former USL teams to create another league, later naming it the North American Soccer League.

That prompted a lawsuit from the USL, filed in Hillsborough County circuit court, that the departing teams were breaching their contract. Late last month, the U.S. Soccer Federation denied both leagues sanctioning, urging the parties to come to an agreement for the sake of soccer expansion in the United States.

Thursday, the sides did so.

U.S. Soccer will oversee one 12-team Division II league (MLS is Division I.) with two divisions, the USL and NASL, for 2010 while working toward a long-term solution.

"For us, the most important thing is long-term stability," U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said. "We think what we've achieved gets us a short-term solution for this 2010 season, but we want to work with a number of people to find a long-term solution so we don't have teams changing between divisions."

And while Tampa Bay is slated to play in the USL division — with Austin (Texas), Minnesota, Portland (Ore.), Puerto Rico and Rochester (N.Y.) — they will exist as an NASL franchise. As part of the agreement, USL agreed to drop all legal action against the Rowdies and the other teams planning to move to the NASL.

The league plans to announce rules and a schedule in the coming weeks.

Nestor said the Rowdies have signed a handful of players — they held three invite-only combines and have plans for another on Jan. 18 — and they will be introduced later this month.

"I'm excited," Nestor said. "With this out of the way, I feel we can really get to the fun stuff. Instead of talking about the league, we can talk about the team. That's what we want to be talking about."

Compromise allows new Tampa Bay Rowdies to play in 2010 01/07/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 7, 2010 8:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays shut out Angels to cap homestand, get back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays completed their seven-game homestand Thursday with a 4-0 victory against the Angels, a win that moved them back to .500 for the season.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) after they score on the single by center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.
  2. Bucs suspended RB Doug Martin breaks his silence and says his drug problem is 'definitely behind me.'

    Blogs

    He would not talk about the drug he abused. He didn’t identify the rehab facility he entered last January or how long he was there.

    Doug Martin was contrite but optimistic about returning to the form he demonstrated as the NFL's second leading rusher two years ago.
  3. Kickoff times announced for Florida-Michigan, FSU-Alabama

    Blogs

    College football's blockbuster Sept. 2 season openers finally have kickoff times.

  4. Why not Kaepernick?: Ryan Fitzpatrick could be ‘Earl Morrall to Jameis Winston’s Bob Griese’

    Blogs

    As the football world continues to question the Bucs’ motives for signing Ryan Fitzpatrick over Colin Kaepernick as Jameis Winston’s backup, veteran NFL writer Rick Gosselin weighs in with this post titled “The Bucs are playing a mind …

    The Bucs want Ryan Fitzpatrick to mentor Jameis Winston.
  5. This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."