Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

U.S. men's national soccer team to play at Raymond James in 2017

TAMPA — Five years after its last visit, the U.S. men's national soccer team is returning to Tampa.

Raymond James Stadium was chosen as one of three venues to host the United States in group stage games for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The team will play its second game at the stadium on July 12.

The Gold Cup is held in odd-numbered years and features 12 national teams from North and Central America.

"Tampa Bay has a rich soccer tradition and this is a huge announcement for our community and continuing our next chapter as a soccer community," said Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, which worked for about six months on a bid to be one of 14 host cities.

Since teams are still qualifying for the tournament, and it's not yet known who the United States will play at Raymond James. CONCACAF will finalize the draw and schedule next year, which could include Tampa hosting another game in the tournament, Higgins said.

Defending champion Mexico along with Canada, Curacao, French Guyana, Jamaica and Martinique have already qualified.

A crowd of almost 24,000 watched the last game the United States played at Ray Jay, a 3-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda in a 2012 World Cup qualifier.

Local members of the American Outlaws, an unofficial supporters group, said they were thrilled to have the national team come to town.

The Tampa chapter has about 50 members, many of whom travel around the country to attend games. Its members will gather after Christmas to plan tailgating and pregame parties and other events to welcome other Outlaw members from across the country, said chapter president Ryan Bushey.

"This really gives the game a lot more attention," Bushey said. "This area has a lot more soccer fans than anyone thinks."

There will be more international soccer coming to Tampa Bay next year. In January, Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg will host games in the 2017 Florida Cup, an international exhibition soccer tournament that includes the Rowdies, VFL Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen from the German Bundesliga, and Estudiantes from Argentina.

The tournament begins Jan. 8.

Contact Christopher O'Donnell at or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_Times.

U.S. men's national soccer team to play at Raymond James in 2017 12/19/16 [Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2016 7:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs start strong vs. Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — On his worst pass of Thursday's preseason game against the Jaguars, Jameis Winston threw a ball from the seat of his pants toward the end zone and it appeared to be intercepted by safety Barry Church.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown of the first half on a 2-yard run, squeaking past Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter.
  2. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  3. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games


    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.
  4. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.
  5. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The signs of frustration were readily apparent as the Rays trudged toward home Thursday after another game littered with squandered opportunities evolved into another wasted day in the wild-card race with a 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays.

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter reacts as Justin Smoak circles the bases after hitting a go-ahead two-run home run in the eighth.