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)

Report: Rowdies might be preparing move from NASL to USL

ST. PETERSBURG — There was no comment from the Tampa Bay Rowdies Monday night amid reports the team will be moving out of the North American Soccer League.

Rumors began circulating a month ago, with current NASL teams Fort Lauderdale and playoff hopeful Rayo OKC reported to be in financial difficulty. With Minnesota moving up to the MLS, the third-division United Soccer League has become more of an attractive option, and Tampa Bay is reportedly ready to switch to that league.

The USL just completed its season and has 29 teams, spanning the country and into Canada. It is a mixture of developmental sides for MLS franchises — like the New York Red Bulls II who were just crowned champions — and original squads in cities both big (San Antonio, Texas; Louisville, Ky.; Pittsburgh) and small (Edinburg, Texas; Bethlehem, Pa.) with two expansion teams (Nashville, Reno, Nev.) set to make it 31.

Tampa Bay and, reportedly, Ottawa would add to the list, and USL is said to be petitioning for a move up to second-tier status in the U.S. Soccer Federation. Sports Illustrated had the news of Tampa Bay and Ottawa possibly departing in a Sept. 22 story.

Website empireofsoccer.com has reported the story and posted a photo of Rowdies owner Bill Edwards, sitting at Saturday's game against Ottawa at St. Petersburg's Al Lang Stadium. The site said USL CEO Alec Papadakis and COO Justin Papadakis sat beside Edwards.

An announcement could come Tuesday, with the Rowdies having just been eliminated from playoff contention in the NASL, which is in its sixth season since a reboot. Before they were rebranded the Rowdies in 2012, then-FC Tampa Bay competed in the USL.

Report: Rowdies might be preparing move from NASL to USL 10/24/16 [Last modified: Monday, October 24, 2016 10:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    The Austin Pruitt experiment might be over, or at least be put on pause. After allowing six runs over seven innings to Seattle on Friday, the rookie didn't get through the fourth Wednesday, giving up five runs on four homers. ERA for past six starts: 5.29.

  3. Rays journal: Homer-happiness returns against Blue Jays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays are back to hitting home runs, which was the norm of the offense for much of the season before the offense went cold.

    Adeiny Hechavarria greets teammate Kevin Kiermaier after his home run during the third inning at the Trop.
  4. Jones: Stop talking and start building a new Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was good to see Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred at Tropicana Field on Wednesday, talking Rays baseball and the hope for a new stadium somewhere in Tampa Bay.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred is popular with the media on a visit to Tropicana Field.
  5. Rays vs. Blue Jays, 1:10 p.m. Thursday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Today: vs. Blue Jays

    1:10, Tropicana Field

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

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)