Tampa Bay Rowdies sign New Zealand's Jeremy Christie

The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced the signing of their first player, Jeremy Christie, on Friday.

Christie, a midfielder, is a member of the New Zealand national team, which qualified for this year's World Cup in South Africa. He played in five qualifiers and scored one goal.

"Jeremy Christie has the experience and skill to be a true leader on the field and in our locker room," Rowdies president Andrew Nestor said in a release. "He has played well at the highest level for his country since the age of 16. Jeremy is the kind of player whose skill and professionalism will exemplify our club."

Christie had played for the New Zealand national team since 2005, playing in 20 international matches. He captained the country's U-17 World Cup team in 1999, then played for Barnsley FC in England. For the past five years, he has played in the Australian A-League for the New Zealand Knights, Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix.

NASL teams are allowed to sign seven foreign players.

The Rowdies are slated to begin their first season in April.

Tampa Bay Rowdies sign New Zealand's Jeremy Christie 01/22/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 22, 2010 11:59pm]

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